a birthday wish
April 16, 2014 § 10 Comments
To my son,
You came into this world in your own time, disrupting expectations and creating opportunities for faith. As quickly as you arrived, you were gone; born prematurely, in a facility unequipped for your care, we were separated so that you could thrive. No one placed you in my arms, instead our first hello was first a goodbye.
I waited eagerly that first morning, anxious to acknowledge the tiny spirit who had previously inspired joy and curiosity as my body changed form to accommodate your enthusiastic movements. Then, in our first conversation, I found myself speaking in a language weighted by silence. I could not thread together the volumes that seemed to sustain the seconds between us.
It is a humbling love, fiercely vulnerable, that tethers a mother and child. Words seemed trite and inadequate in those first moments, instead I marveled at the miracle of your tiny fingers and wise gaze. I looked past the wires and machinery that signaled weakness seeing only beauty and strength.
Then, I let go; trusting that you would be okay and recognizing the limits of my control. Today I asked the same of you.
On the eve of your birthday you begged me to dismiss you from school, a place sometimes burdened with unkindness and discomfort. I struggled against wanting to shelter you from your fears and choosing a path that would honor my faith in your strength. Rather than hide you from harm, I asked you to let go and trust in the possibility of kindness.
This is my birthday wish for you:
I hope you begin always with faith in possibility. In some of our most challenging hours we find the source of our strength is greater than the cause of our worries. In moments outside our control there is an opportunity to let go of fear or hold tightly to doubt; it is always better to embrace possibility than hide in the shadows of insecurities. When calculating risk, count first your accomplishments and multiply them by your willingness to engage risk. Failure and harm are inevitable but joy and accomplishment are impossible without first risking both.