My son, Sam is 22 today. And I want to dedicate this post to him.
I don’t have a lot of photos of Sam on my computer but this one is a favorite of mine. It was taken about two years ago and I love it because it shows all that is uniquely wonderful about Sam- his tenderness, his toughness, his joy in the moment. And in the image I see the dog I didn’t want him to have, the tattoo I didn’t want him to get and the patio chair where I wished he wasn’t smoking cigars. His spirit and audacity, his willingness and determination to live life on his own terms is all captured here. It hasn’t always been easy to be a part of his journey but he has taught me so much-about autonomy and respect, about non-judgmental parenting and about unconditional loving.
Sam is larger than life and he was that way when he was very young. Energetic, independent and so very loving. Sam is the youngest of my three children and he had the unenviable task of differentiating himself from his older brother and sister. There was a specialness in Sam that I could always see, from his hyper-intelligence and perceptiveness to his incredible loyalty and kind-heartedness. I have always hoped that he would come to know and value these things in himself and as he grows and matures and his world expands I feel optimistic that he will.
I am so grateful to Sam for hanging in with me as I struggled to let him go. I know there were many times when my anxiety made him feel like I didn’t trust him. What I needed to trust was not that things would be perfect (of course they won’t) but that Sam could handle the ups and downs and successes and failures in his own life. He has asked me repeatedly to speak plainly, set boundaries and be honest. I have worked hard to do all those things although at times I can still struggle. He has helped me to be a better mother and a better person.
So Sam, thank you for all the amazing you bring to my life. And Happy, Happy, 22nd Birthday.