My Dearest Son,
The day you were born I made you a promise. I vowed to be your protector, your role model, your teacher, and your haven. As a young mom I wasn’t sure how to be all those things or even if I’d even be very good at them, but I swore when I first held you that I’d try my best.
But I was scared. So very scared.
I had reasons to be afraid. At 11 days old you were rushed off to emergency surgery. I cried for weeks in the Pediatric ICU as you were wheeled from one test to another in a sterile metal crib. The serious faces of doctors and specialists told me much without saying a word. It was these unspoken conversations, frightful images of you hooked up to tubes and machines, and countless silent prayers that introduced me to motherhood.
Even though we celebrated your second homecoming, the medical scares continued. Every fever, every episode, every anomaly fueled my limitless fears. I didn’t know what was normal — or what was normal for you. I didn’t know when — or if — I was allowed to relax when it came to your care. I wanted so much to enjoy you, but ceaseless fear stood in my way.
Working full-time, I relied on daycare to watch over you. I worried about the quality of care you were receiving, your medical needs, and whether I was spending enough time with you.
When you started school, you had difficulty following rules. There were classroom issues, parent-teacher meetings, and behavior contracts. I worried whether things would ever improve. I worried I started you too young.
As the years went on you faced social challenges. You weren’t always understood. You weren’t always included. And even though I knew in my heart that every challenge held a special gift that would one day set you apart, I worried. I worried for your happiness. I worried for your resilience.
I worried so long and so hard that I now fear I’ve wasted so much time.
The other day I jokingly mentioned to you that the next time I blink you’ll be driving.
What you said next changed everything.
“Then don’t blink.”
Don’t blink. It sounds so simple. But what if fear has kept me parenting with my eyes closed this whole time? If you only knew how much of your precious childhood I unknowingly wished away in the hopes of knowing you’d be OK.
But you’ve always been OK. It was me who wasn’t.
All this time I spent worrying, I should have been enjoying you so much more than my fearful heart would allow. Instead of wishing for answers and the wisdom of hindsight, I should have been hoping these moments would never end.
While I could never truly know how impossibly fast this time would pass, I understand now that the future — no matter how uncertain — is meant to be celebrated.
When it comes to the next leg of our adventure as mother and son, I’m making a new and simple promise — to parent with my eyes wide open. No blinking. No wishing ahead. No wasting precious time.
In you I see greatness and a future filled with possibility. And I refuse to miss a single moment.
All my love forever,