To my sweetest Benjamin,
I am 30 years old now and I look at you, two months old, and think about the man you will be at 30. I can’t really picture what you will look like (because it seems every day you look like someone different) but I know you will be the kind of man I am proud of.
I have a feeling you will be sweet and gentle, like your dad, and quiet, like the both of us. You may keep your thoughts to yourself a lot, but when you do share them they will be sincere and intentional.
I can’t wait until you begin talking, begin telling us what’s on your beautiful, young mind. I want to hear all about your imaginary friends, and what you’d like to be when you grow up. I can’t wait to hear you giggle more. I want to make you laugh until your belly hurts.
If I could be a mom for one second and give you just a touch of advice (sorry):
Enjoy yourself, Ben.
Have so much fun you can’t see straight. Go dancing, go rafting, go meditate, go meet new people, go eat weird things. Take the time to appreciate each segment of life, especially the stretch where you don’t need to be concerned about anyone but yourself. You will find out so much.
Your dad and I think maybe one day you’ll play an instrument because we love music and can already tell how much you do too. If we forget to tell you, we spent hours dancing with you to Billy Joel, Meghan Trainor, and Jason Derulo, with a sprinkle of Whitney Houston in there for good measure. You like it most when we make a complete fool of ourselves bouncing around the room. One day you will realize we are not the best dancers but we’ve got spirit. We hope to embarrass you one day at a large, family function.
I want you to know that I didn’t realize it would be so easy to sacrifice things for you; my free time, my job, my former identity (and lets not even discuss my breasts…), but it’s simple. It’s barely even a second thought. I have found that my life has opened up because of you, not limited me. You have shown me in just these few short weeks that I can rise to the occasion; that I can test my body to the limit and it won’t fail me; that I can completely put someone else first; that lack of sleep does not diminish the amount of care I put into each day, and that love is not static but constantly moving, growing, morphing into new and different types of loves I didn’t know existed. I didn’t know I could love a crying face so much before May 9th. There doesn’t seem to be an end to my empathy for you.
I feel as if I am already prepping myself for the day that you will leave our home and begin one of your own, whether it’s to travel, or to get married, or for work or school. It isn’t fair we only get you for so long. And there is absolutely no way to detach myself from that inevitable day. I will just have to feel how I feel when that time comes. Just remember to be nice to me when I’m covered in tears and snot at the entrance of your dorm room with all of your future friends in the hallway.
Benjamin, I know you will be the kind of man that treats people well. I know you will work hard and make wonderful friends and bring them home to eat all of our food when you’re a teenager.
You will be the kind of man you want to be, and that’s the most important thing. I will try my best not to push my agenda on you, even if that means shutting up about mistakes I know you will make, that you must make.
I want to be a part of your life forever and watch you grow into the person you have chosen to be. Try not to forget about us when you are deep in the throes of life, having a wonderful time, falling in love, making a career, traveling. Mom and Dad will be waiting, impatiently, to hear your stories and hug the crap out of you when you get back.
To this man I don’t know yet, but already love, happy birthday.