Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful - and Contemplative - Maestro is 15

2013 - with a Flat Stanley
Last week my oldest boy - the one who is now taller than I am at 6'1", who wears his Pop's clothing size, chooses his own music, many of his movies, friends and fashion - turned 15. 

Your last Hallowe'en getting dressed up -
as a magician
And briefly mentioned that he will be old enough for a learner's permit for driving in six short months - and considered that he doesn't always feel ready for that Next. Big. Step. 

I am so proud of him. He has made some mistakes, but he has also kept his desire to learn new things, and learned to research and teach himself. 

What used to fit... 
He has kept his questioning, seeking nature - the one that brought him to me every morning when he

This could be you - but it's not. And the shirt
passes to another generation
 was 3 years old and announced that he was there for a "Good morning hug, Mom?" And the one who learned to talk, and never stopped unless he was 

rap battles are popular

sleeping. Sometimes that is still true, though now some of the "discussion" takes place over text messaging as he filches my phone.

But you didn't appreciate my efforts so much

 Having him text from my phone... keeps him close for a little while longer, and gives me a chance to
I thought it was pretty clever!

 see into the widening distance of his world from mine. 

Perpetual motion machines - You are the one half-way
through a flip, high in the air, long hair swinging down
It is only a few short years before he flies away, Little Birdie, to begin his own life. And already I wonder what I've done right and wrong. 

Always surrounded by friends of many ages
What is it that will echo in his mind forever, my voice like a specter repeating some phrase that stuck for some reason. I hear my mom's voice still, twenty years after leaving home. 

So rarely still - but sometimes I make you, and you do it for me.
When the kids ask for "one more drink of water" I think back to when I was in high school and asked for a glass of orange juice.

Oldest and youngest. I can't imagine you were ever so small
 I don't remember her sounding tired even (though I'm sure she must have been!) as she said she'd bring one in. I try to model that voice tone for my own kids, and fail more often than I'd like. 

Dear 15-year-old-son, Maestro,

Your music - the music you sing with notes, play on harmonica, keyboard, piano, guitar; the music of

You were joking around, let me take the picture
I love this one.
 your voice as you joke, argue, cajole, laugh and tease - pulls at me. I can hardly imagine how it will be when you leave here. Quieter, certainly! Quieter than it has been since you came into the world and changed it for the better in every way. 
Busch Gardens... (hair still long ;)
And I will miss seeing you play tag after church - even at 15, this past Sunday you were out there in the church yard in jeans and a tee-shirt, and dress shoes (!) 

Hotel room in Philedelphia (how I thought
that hair cut would make you look younger!)
running after your friend and your brother. This break from serious life stuff, since you were babysitting for someone the two full days before. 

Each week we drive down to Virginia Beach for gymnastics, 

Your upside-down view of the world makes
me take notice
and I look for you through the big plate-glass windows, hoping to get to see you on the rings or the high bar. I never manage to until you're working on the pommel horse or the mushroom. Ugh. My two least favorites, after the girls' floor routine. Round and round and round - boring!

And how much you loved magic and Rubik's Kubes this past year.

Nearly taller than Grandpa Great 
We have been down quite the path together, through deployments, TDYs and other life changes - new babies. 

With Kuma Sandy and Fr. Duane after D's baptism
I am excited at what will come in the next three or four. I know you are going to find your wings and you are going to fly higher than anyone might ever imagine. You are not "genius" level (or maybe you are, I don't know. I never had you tested.) But you are super-smart. And, better still, you know how to learn and teach yourself, and you still ask questions of the world. 

Know this too. Tuck it away in the coffers of your mind, in the safe deposit box and lock it there tight in your heart with a key that will never be lost: I am proud of you. You are loved, and wanted, and cared about through every one of the many steps, mis-steps and stages of life. There is nothing that could happen that will change that there is someone here who wants you to always know how much you are loved

I have seen this "you" in my
mind's eye for the last 11 years
Life will take you on some pretty serious roads. Life will knock the breath out of you. You'll make decisions and declarations on what you 100% will/not ever, ever do - and God will have the last laugh. He always does, and He is always right. And when you follow, life is truly and really easier and more pleasurable. I've always thought God has a sense of humor. 
Mom? Remember all those kids
I wasn't going to have?? God laughs
last. Thanks for the good example.
Remember, Son, that angels like to be invited in. Devils don't care and will cling to you like burrs on socks, but angels are patient and will wait just alongside you; but they are always there.

Be everything you are meant to be. And over the next three years, include us who love you and cherish you and have oh so few precious moments with you, even as you yearn to break away and can't always understand why Mom and Pop keep you so close. Some of it... might be a little on the cautious side, you are a teen boy, after all; some of it... is a desire not to see you pull off into the distance, as you once did at four. You crossed the street to play with friends, 

I wasn't ready at 4 - not really any more so now

never once looking back to wave or smile - and then raced back at the end of it all, in breathless excitement, to tell me all about how awesome it was that you'd had these new friends to play with! The selfish "Mama" part of me doesn't want that part to go away. And the wise Mom knows that it must. Just not. Quite. Yet.

I prefer it this way - surrounded, someone pulling my shirt, fighting to
be close by, just. Mom.
Happy birthday, my oldest Maestro. Let your music shine and fill the world. I will be here on this side of the street waiting to hear of the adventure at the end.


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