Twelve.

 My little man...August, 2005. On his first day of preschool.

My little man...August, 2005. On his first day of preschool.

It's getting harder and harder to write these posts.

Twelve.

That's a long time to know someone. Twelve years. I haven't know many people that long. But it's more than 12 years, isn't it? I have known you longer.  And it wasn't even at the moment I knew you were a part of me. It was light years beyond that day.

I remember a good friend of mine saying to me when you were just a wee little thing "Can you ever imagine a day in your life where you didn't know this person?" The thing is, I couldn't. There was no other way to describe that feeling either. It's as if I had you with me all along. It's like I knew you when I was 3. And then when we were 9 on the playground. And today at 12. You see, you have been in my heart forever.

I don't expect you to understand this now. As a matter of fact, you may never understand this feeling. But it's as real as you are in my life. I have loved you forever.

I never thought when I pictured myself being a mom that one day you would be here. I never though you would be a cell phone carrying, video game playing, almost as tall as your mother twelve year old.

Twelve.

I never pictured 12. I pictured a little baby. Snuggled up with me. Toddling around in front of me. Giggling gleefully at peek-a-boo and splashing in the tub. I pictured Sesame Street and Elmo and baby powder and diapers. But I never pictured 12.

But here we are. And I am so glad I am here with you today on your 12th birthday. Because you are all those things. And you were all those things. But you are so much more. So much more, Graham. You are gentle and kind-hearted. You are smart...so smart! You are strong and brave. You are grown and responsible and funny and true. You are my heart and my soul walking this planet more bravely than I ever could. I don't think I could be more proud to watch you grow and change and learn. I couldn't be more proud to be in your life. I couldn't be more happy to be someone's mother.

I am not afraid of these next years anymore. I can't wait to see you become an adult and morph into the superhero you really are. I have mourned a lot of the time that slipped through my fingers like water that you try to hold on to. It doesn't stay. Only droplets remain and the feeling that you sort of know what had been there. But the holding is futile. It only stands in the way and limits the possibility of what is to come.

You are going to make this world a better place just by being yourself. Don't forget that. You are going to make the people around you kinder, gentler, softer and braver. We need more people like you walking around this planet. So please, don't stop growing into the amazing person you were put on this planet to be. You will be faced with challenges and doubt. It's part of the game of life. Push through them and stay grounded to the person you are right here and right now.

Be brave, my little warrior. And love large. And remember everyday that I will always have your back.

Love,

Momma