By Michelle Talsma Everson, 2021
I soak up every moment
Of your childhood
Because I know it’s fleeting.
I take the photos
I post about your milestones
The unseen moments are what I treasure most.
The 4 a.m., you’re peacefully sleeping, dark hair, pale skin, watching you in awe.
I whisper that I love you
I pray for God to protect you.
I wonder how it’s possible to love one human so much.
I see glances of the boy you are, of the man you’re becoming
When you say thank you “so much!”
When you are proud of your accomplishments
When you are excited over good food
When you are frustrated by your own imperfections.
There’s so much of me in you
Which forces me to be kinder to myself,
Because I can’t hate parts of me
And love you at the same time.
Watching you grow is both beautiful and painful;
Each moment a first and a last for us both.
I mourn the little boy you leave behind
I rejoice in the young man you’re embracing.
It’s the ultimate paradox.
Your brain works so much like your father’s;
It’s all numbers and concepts I don’t understand.
I hope from me though you learn empathy and love, always love,
Because everyone is fighting a battle we can’t see
And the world is a million glorious shades of grey.
There’s a part of me that wants to apologize to you;
I didn’t want you to be an only child
I didn’t expect that your dad and I’s relationship would look like this.
But I hope you see the beauty in the unexpected and unconventional;
That family doesn’t have to be blood
That people can form relationships that defy convention
(And while there are challenges)
Still be insanely happy.
There will be a day son
When you know so much joy
That your heart will feel like it’ll burst at the seams
The same will happen with sorrow, unfortunately.
And while I’m not sure if I’m doing any of this “right” —
I can promise you that I am doing the best I can
And that you will always have a home
And the most loving little family;
We are your foundation and your landing place always
As you soar to heights unseen.