Thursday, May 5, 2011

From a mother to her son

Monday was my oldest child, Gage's, 14th birthday.  It seemed somber this year based on the fact that a main player in his life is no longer here to help him celebrate.  I wasn't up to having a party and frankly it turns out, he wasn't either - a couple of friends to sleep over was all he really cared about. 

So on top of his new Blackberry from me I wanted to write him a letter:

                                                    Dear Gage: 

You've just celebrated your 14th birthday and I pause to catch my breath and take a moment to reflect on how much my life has changed since Friday, May 2, 1997 at 3:31 a.m.  After all this time I remember that day quite vividly.  More than any other day of my life to be honest.  It's the day I became a better person.  It's the day my life took on a new meaning, a better meaning.  It's the day that changed my world.  A world that used to revolve solely around me.

After 9 months and 23 hours of actual labour, I was finally able to meet you face to face and hold you in my arms.  I still remember the overwhelming feeling that came over me as I looked into your face.  You were perfect.  Everything about you was perfect.  The whole image is still crystal clear for me.  Your little grey eyes squinting up at me, how remarkably well you were able to hold your own head up, how you instantly calmed down when you were layed on my chest and I spoke to you.  The beats of our hearts in unison.  Just the overall feeling of smallness in my arms.  How I had never had more of an urge to protect anything in my entire life like I wanted to protect you.  I just wanted to curl up in my bed surrounding you and stay there forever.  I have no true analogy to describe to you what having a child of your own feels like, but I hope one day you will also be blessed with this gift of your own.  There is nothing like it, nor will there ever be.  I felt that day that someone had removed my heart from my body and gave it life of its own and the moniker Gage. 

I look back on the past 14 years with an overall fondness.  I have regrets, though very few, of things you've gone through in your youth.  Nothing extreme, just stuff I really wished you hadn't of had to deal with at such a young age.  I guess I have hope that it happened so young that your memories are vague or non-existant.  You were and are a good boy.  You were my boy.  A mama's boy through and through.  You were independant from the start, never having a problem sleeping in your own bed, or away from home at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  You crawled at 5 1/2 months and walked at 8 1/2 months on your own, though you didn't cut your first tooth until you were 11 months old!  You didn't use 'baby' words and it was so entertaining to watch a one year old say dinosaur or helicopter.  Laughter was never absent when you were around.  You would mistakingly refer to Coca Cola as Coca Lala, and raspberries as razzbooties, spaghetti as spagootie, Grandpa and Geepaw, and if we tried to correct you we were scolded.   I can still hear the sound of your belly laugh from that era and it stops me in my tracks to hear you laugh today.  It's nothing like I remember my little boy sounding.  It's now the laughter of a young man. 

I remember your first day of elementary school and I can't believe that in September you'll already be attending your first day of secondary school.  I remember the weather and what you were wearing and all the smaller versions of the kids you still go to school with.  I remember you weren't afraid.  And I wasn't either.  I knew you'd do just fine.  You are outgoing and easily made friends, as you still do.  You never played shy.  By the time the teacher came to get you and bring you into the school you had already made friends with Braeden, who was having a hard time on his first day of school.  I didn't have the normal tears in my eyes that my baby was growing up and heading to school, the tears in my eyes when I walked away were from pride.  How proud I was of you for stepping up to another child who was scared and trying to make them feel better.  I was proud of the boy you were becoming. 

During difficult times in my life you have kept me 'sane'.  You have given me the will to get out of bed on those hard mornings and work through my issues.  In a not so dramatic way,  you have given me reason to live.  To better myself.  I worried about you when your father and I split up.  I feared you were just going to become another statistic and get caught up in all the mess.  You worked through it, both well and not so well, but you and I got stronger because of it.  You were a good big brother to Roan when he was a baby (maybe not the best big brother now, but surely a typical one).  You would do the silliest things to make him laugh and I find it interesting how you don't understand why he always wants to be around you.  You were his hero -everything he strived to achieve in his early years.  He looked up to you.  I wish you understood this more because I actually believe you would treat him better now if you did.  I know in my heart that as you both get older your relationship will change even more so and I know it will be for the better.  I am truly grateful that, in the big picture, you two have each other. 

I was worried when Eric entered our lives, worried how you would react or if you would accept him.  I worried if he would like you.  I'm so relieved that you have welcomed him into our fold.  I love the common banter you and he have together (usually at mine or Roan's sake) and listening to you nerds talk video game talk together.  It's truly because of you that I decided to learn how to play Xbox but most importantly Call of Duty.  I felt it was a way that you and I could hang out that wouldn't cramp your teenaged style too much.  I really enjoy those times we spend together and wish we did it more often.  I get a sense of calmness and happiness when I stand by watching you, Roan and Eric get along, laugh and talk. 

I love that you are still comfortable telling me most everything that's happening in your life and I hope that never changes.  I hope you know I won't judge you and will always listen to you.   I have so much I want to teach you but don't even know where to start or if you'll even listen when I try.  I guess I believe I'll be able to stop some 'pain' or heartache in the future if I teach you the ways of girls now.  But I'm a realist, I know that won't be the case.  I stand back proudly and know that if I was a 14 year old boy I'd be just like you.  You have turned into a male version of myself.  You are popular and it comes easy for you.  You're funny and handsome and are one of only two people who could get me to like pop music and hip hop.   I love to watch you play soccer and love how good you have gotten through the years.  I love that you have passion for things even if one of them is video games.  I remember driving home after dropping you off at your first boy/girl dance and crying.  Crying at your impending loss of innocence.  Knowing that going forward things are going to greatly change.  I dread your upcoming grade 8 graduation for a couple of reasons:  the obvious is Grandpa not being there to root you on because I know how proud he was of you and I'm sad that he's going to miss out on so much that is still ahead of you.  The second is my fear that you'll pull away from me and I'll lose the closeness that we currently have.  That unspoken bond. 

I hope you never feel like you can't talk to me or tell me a stupid joke or a funny story or cry with me or hug me or tell me you love me.  I hope you are never embarrassed of me or ashamed of me.  I hope you never stray from who you are and what you believe in.  I hope you use your mind and consciously think about how to better yourself and not lazily just glide through life.  I hope you understand how important you are to so many people.  I hope you end up meeting and falling in love with a wonderful girl who makes you smile with your whole heart.  I hope she likes me.   I hope I like her.  I hope she loves you as much as I do.  I hope you make the right decisions and when you fumble and make a wrong one, I hope you learn from that mistake.  I hope you never feel alone in the world because you aren't nor will you ever be.  I hope you know you can always come to me for help.  I hope you understand that no matter how old you are, you will always be my Gagey-bear. 

I love you and would lay down my life for you without a second thought.  You have done me proud in your first 14 years of life and I anticipate that you will continue to make me proud as you become a wonderful man. 

With all my love,

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