Seventeen. You are seventeen tomorrow.
The first time I saw you was like a punch right to my chest. A beautiful baby, full of love. I felt it the day you were born. We all felt it. Naked. Wriggling. Quietly wondering. Fully loved.
Today, I stand on the edge of a lifetime of you, deep in the waters of memories of you washing over me, pulling me under like a rip current. My boy, my child, my young and beautiful man. Thoughts of your sweet chubby cheeks and your hands that fit perfectly in mine are overwhelming in my heart. I miss that part - the part where you were little and life was simple. The part where I had the answers, where I could keep you safe.
But now, you are a man…becoming your own person – capable, strong, and oh-so-loving and kind. You have answers all your own that you don’t need me for now. You make the best decisions. You have the kindest heart.
I have watched you evolve this year into something I could have only hoped for a few short years ago. You are beginning to navigate this path of life a little on your own more and more each day, testing the waters while you are still close, while I still have answers to some of those harder questions, and while I can - for a few short moments - still take precious care of you.
I am not sure what the future holds right now, but I know it’s going to be a wild ride. Bends and twists and hopefully plenty of spots to catch your breath. Lean into all of the messiness as you go. Trust that you are on the road you need to be. Even when you get lost. Even when you feel scared. Even when you follow the clear signs that seem like they are written in another language with another alphabet. What makes you the Graham that most people know is that you know how to take it all in stride. But what makes you the Graham that I know is how full of heart you will experience it all. Trust that part.
And steady as you go, my love.
“Confess I'm not quite ready to be left.
Still, I know I gave my level best.
You give, you give, to this I can attest
You made me, you made me.
You and me forever baby.”