Thursday, November 10, 2011

A tribute to my amazing son

One week from today, I send my son Justin out into the wide world with his first venture being his mission to Mexico. My thoughts are varied, of course, as are my emotions but I’m so proud of this son of mine.
I know that there are a lot of parents, whose children leave home under negative circumstances, and that is certainly not the case with Justin.  He will walk out of this home on his own terms with the blessings of his parents and head out to perform wonderful work, first in Mexico, and then in whatever adventures he chooses to pursue. 
I feel short of breath when I think about him leaving but that isn’t because I wish he weren’t, rather because my little boy is a man and is leaving the nest and I will miss having him so close to me, living in my home and seeing him every day.
I remember clearly the day that Justin was born. His mom had been in labor for 24 + difficult hours and, finally, the doctors decided that he just wasn’t going to try and fit his 10 pound chubby body into such a narrow place.  As I’ve thought back on that day and as I’ve gotten to know Justin’s personality, I can see that this is just another facet of his will and determination (and stubbornness).  That wasn’t the path for him and he wasn’t going to be forced into anything that he didn’t want. Time and time again, since then, I have seen this same determination manifest in his behavior. But once he arrived, I was the first to hold him and I remember standing there crying like a baby. He was beautiful and I couldn’t believe that he was mine. It was overwhelming.  I was the first to hold him and I’ve held him close ever since.  In fact, Justin and I have had an extraordinarily close father and son relationship. During his life, there have been moments that have been rocky between us, but they have been just moments and insignificant when compared with all of the rest. Justin and I have always been close; always made great efforts to stay in contact, in spite of living in different states. I’ve watched him grow and I’ve watched him struggle and I’ve watched him overcome it all and all the while I’ve cheered on this beautiful son of mine.
This morning he told me not to be sad and proceeded to lecture me on the fact that this is just a natural progression in the course of our lives, etc., etc., etc. It was a strange thing to have the roles reversed but it doesn’t surprise me. He’s become wise and practical and, again, determined. He told me not to be sad, not to cry, but that is like telling the sun not to rise. I am not good at good-byes. I am going to miss this boy. I worry about him and I will always worry about him but only in the sense of a parent caring with concern for their child.  I have learned that he is smart and kind and good and, for that, I will not worry about him. He will always be my child, no matter how big or how old he gets. But I know that I have been blessed by having been a part of the creation and development of this man. I’ve been blessed in more ways that I can count and, more than anything, what I feel is gratitude for being able to be his dad.
As Justin leaves my home in a week, I want him to remember that his biggest fan is his dad—his Papi, as he used to call me. I want him to know how proud I am of him and of what he is about to do. I know that there will be times during his mission and during his life that are difficult to handle, but I also know that he has the capabilities and the strength and the wisdom to overcome them, to rise to the challenges presented and triumph over them. He has my confidence; he has my blessing; he has my respect; and he has my love.  From the time he was this beautiful curly haired baby until now, I’ve loved him in unfathomable ways.  I will always be there for Justin, loving him and cheering him on as he conquers the world.


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