To my youngest son,
My sweet boy, there are days I feel like my life is just a blur and sometimes you get lost in the mix. My time and attention seem to be consumed with helping your brother, school phone calls, IEP meetings, doctor’s appointments, daily autistic meltdowns, and just navigating everyday life. I would never know if any of it bothered you because you take all of it in such stride, and you rarely complain.
Son, I want you to know I see you and I am so proud of everything you are.
Your daily sacrifices and endless amounts of selflessness don’t go unnoticed.
Like the other day when you came marching through the front door with your ketchup smile and said, “How has Bryce’s day been? I brought him his favorite sauce from Chick-fil-A. I sure hope he’s been good.”
Then there was the time you got a toy in your Happy Meal and your brother didn’t. You knew a meltdown was impending, and you didn’t even hesitate, you just gave him yours. Though I insisted you didn’t have to, you assured me it was fine.
Your selflessness is endless and your heart is so big. The world could learn a thing or two from you. Honestly, so could I.
From the day you were born, you have always been such a genuinely amazing child. I am awed daily by your grace and compassion. I don’t tell you nearly enough, but you bring so much wonder and joy to our lives. You make us laugh with your silly little jokes and your ear-to-ear grin.
Today, like many days, I watched you with pure admiration. Your beautiful green eyes with their ring of gold, your soft, dirty blonde hair, the small line of freckles that caress your nose and fall like sprinkles on your cheeks, and your contagious smile. Oh, how that smile melts my heart.
Your precious baby giggles are slowly transforming into little boy laughs.
When did this happen?! How did I not see you transforming?! I noticed the way you don’t reach for my hand quite as often as you used to. You’ve started to outgrow your need for reassurance. My heart both swelled with pride and broke in two when you said, “Mom, I’ve got this! I’m a big boy now.”
I wonder if I’ve spent enough time telling you how much I love you and how much I appreciate the wonder and innocence you bring into our lives. I wonder if I am trying too hard to hold onto your babyhood. I know you will be seven soon, and I am not sure if I am ready. I know I have to let you grow up, but my sweet boy, I want you to know you will ALWAYS be my baby.
You are such a gem in this messy, beautiful life of ours. The love, joy, and sense of wonder you bring into my life are irreplaceable. My boy, if I could keep you little and carefree forever, I would. This life is so bittersweet, and I know the day is coming when you are going to go out into this big world on your own.
There are so many things I want for you. Most importantly, I want you to live your best life. I want you to have roots that will always lead you home, but wings that will take you around the world. I want you to see, feel, and experience all of the grand things this big world has to offer. I want you to meet people and make meaningful connections.
I want you to fall in love with your soulmate and have children of your own (or don’t if that’s not what makes your heart do a happy dance). I want you to dread the thought of going to sleep because your life is so amazing when you are awake. If it doesn’t happen like that, I hope you know you have the ability to change it. It may not be an instantaneous change, but you can make small changes until one day you find yourself exactly where you are supposed to be.
If you have a dream, I want you to reach for it. Don’t listen to the doubts of others. If you fail it is OK, chalk it up to a lesson learned and move on to your next dream.
Son, I know this world can be a hard place, but I never want it to harden your beautiful heart.
I hope you always know your worth. I hope you find your tribe, and they help build and balance you, but, if you don’t, I hope you find comfort in your own company. I deeply and profoundly know there is something to be said for being your own best friend.
My child, I know at some point you will trip and fall and make irresponsible decisions. I hope you get back on your feet, own them, and let them teach you the lessons they are meant to. I hope you apologize when apologies are needed and walk away when nothing needs to be said. I hope that light that shines within you will always lead you through the darkest of your days.
Most of all my sweet boy, I hope you know I will always love you fiercely, boundlessly, infinitely, and without hesitation.
Originally published on the author’s blog