A Letter to My Son

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Twenty years ago, I was a young, scared parent who had a 10 month old and found out another child was on the way. Those remaining eight months were stressful. I was sick, we moved, my husband started a new job which created the possibility of a deployment and my unborn boy was thought to be at risk for birthing complications. Yes, we knew from the multiple ultrasounds that our baby was a boy. The only easy part about this time was picking out a name.

My son arrived 19 years ago today. It was a messy delivery, ending up in an emergency C-section to deliver a baby that weighed 11 pounds, 15.6 ounces. We round it up to 12 pounds for storytelling purposes. My husband had to go to the store and buy diapers because the nursery didn’t have any to fit him.

To my It-Man:

You came into this world ready to tackle anything, literally. Doctors asked if we were ready to sign you up for a football team. You blew all the growth charts out of the water. Running around at 10 months. Charming everyone with your smile. Being taller than your sister and loving it. When you grew taller than me, you were so proud!

We faced challenges over the last 19 years, but I have seen how those challenges shaped you as a young man. I wouldn’t trade one minute of our past. Those bumps just made our lives more interesting. Sometimes, I think other parents could learn a lot from our experience. Our path was definitely not the well-travelled road that so many of your peers followed.

I hope you remember all the people who helped you become the man you are now. The camping trips, the reunions, Boy Scouts, Robotics, teachers and friends that helped guide you along the way and most of all, your family. There was an entire village that helped you reach this point. I’ve forgotten some of the names, but I’m truly grateful for their presence in your life.

As you celebrate this weekend, keep all of us with you. Look to the future, but never forget the past. It’s time for you to try out those wings we gave you a few years ago. Your tree is firmly rooted in the ground, but your path is now yours to forge. I know you can find your way back if you want or need to. Soar…take in your surroundings…enjoy the journey. Find your own path, knowing your village is extremely proud of you.

Happy birthday, It-Man.

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