I’ve been spending my weekends decluttering sorting through memorabilia of my oldest son. Dividing the items into keep, maybe and trash pile. Right now the trash bin is winning as we say goodbye to our life stages at once. I am encompassed with sadness. Life is breaking up ‘Team Jones’ that kept me in loving consternation. We are moving forward to commencement.
I look at the mess and think of all the times how annoyed I was of his lack of tidiness. I’ll never have to deal with that at least not to this gravity. Dried up markers, stickers, Pokemon cards, tokens and coins alike, middle school yearbooks, pre-k art, series of Harry Potter books… Toss-keep-toss like a well oiled machine we peel life in layers. If he wanted to major in Archeology now would be a good time there’s a decade packed. I hum “We’re All In this Together” he doesn’t join in. I remember when we sang through High School Musical. Sometimes music is more personal. It invokes memories in a given space and time that CD is beyond recognizable. Months of residency under his bed accompanied by dust serves more of an embarrassment now. Deep breaths I take and resolved to trust his judgement when it comes to sentimental value.
He has his own agenda. One that I would’ve never thought of simply I lacked courage. With conviction, he reminds me of the mountains and giant waves he will conquer. Seneca Rocks 2402 feet summit is just the beginning. All I know is that I will grow old, sit on my porch and watch the sky, gold like honey, and wonder where he goes.
I hope he goes where love goes. I hope he goes in the market street of Morocco and barter for an amulet. I hope he sees his breath in the cold air of Antarctica, watch the sun come up at Mt. Kilimanjaro, walk the trails of Torres Del Paine, I hope he falls in love in a public square in France, I hope he doesn’t confuse money with happiness. The word “hope” weighs so heavy just like my love for him is unfathomable.
Thank you, son, for not dumbing down school to be cool. Thank you for trusting in me that things will turn out for the better. Your best days are yet to come. Our family doesn’t have it easy. Thank you for navigating our difficulties with grace, acceptance and courage but most of all humor. Virtues are hard to learn even in life’s toughest lesson. At 17, I am proud that you know yourself enough to not limit your potential. You are stronger than you realize. A stud in your own right. However, never hold yourself back by saying “I love you, I forgive you, or I am sorry” It’s easy to appreciate people but it’s alot harder to make someone feel irreplaceable. Be a true Man. Stand long enough to look a person in the eye. Unplug to connect. I can’t recall life before the conveniences of search engines but I do remember that I was just fine without internet and apps. Technology is limitless but has a way of taking away opportunity. Text less write more. Write a damn letter in cursive. You’ll never know romance until you compose one.
This August you will blaze through your own path. There’s a future ahead that awaits for you and you get to paint that masterpiece. God gave you to me as my masterpiece from the very moment I grew you inside of me and many times I got it wrong.
I will miss you. Your father will miss you. He will miss you during low tide and hurricane season, over perfect long left point break, at the highest point of sand dunes at the outer banks, at the stillness of your ‘93 Volvo, and in some odd chance where “Heart of Gold” plays in a random place; likewise, you will miss him when you stand in awe of your adventures. Feel fortunate that you have a younger brother waiting for you. Sometimes we are oblivious to our own good luck by having a younger sibling. The highly charged relationship between two Alpha males can be daunting under one roof but the answer is still “No we cannot take him back to the hospital.”
Go discover the world and yourself. The light of truth shines through open minds. Let your moral compass guide you. Life is not fair. It will not reward you with a grand prize but with grit you can perform miracles.