“I can’t believe how fast you’re growing up.”
You must be sick of me – and lots of other people – saying that. I get that. You are simply living your life, moving on down the road of your journey. I’m sure that your perception of the passage of time is very different than mine and very different from that of Papa or Ya-ya.
For me, though, I will never forget the moment I learned that you had been born healthy and that I was now responsible to help raise a new child in the world. As amazing as that day was, it was dwarfed the instant I first held you a few weeks later. You are my firstborn child, trueborn, and you changed everything for me.
I am so grateful to have had the time with you growing up. Every moment was a thrill – to watch you learn about the world around you, struggle, stand up, and keep moving forward. Parenthood is a transformative experience. It’s a change that can often be painful, harrowing, and one that takes you to the limits of your confidence. But at no point can you simply give up. Because the responsibility – the responsibility to your child and the responsibility to the world, to raise your child to be a good person and a positive part of it, can never be abdicated.
I’ve kept my fingers crossed, been sad for you, and ached every time I’ve seen your struggle with depression, then anxiety, as you’ve tackled the terrible process of adolescence. More recently, I’ve been cautiously optimistic as you’ve shown the strength of your resolve and taken what must be frightening steps to show your true self to the world. No matter how much a parent wants to, they can never lift that burden off their child. You must make your way into the world, authentic and true, by the steps you take yourself. I can’t take that burden from you – and shouldn’t – but I cheer for you every step of the way.
I am proud of you, truly proud my son, that you continue to show your confidence to the world. I am happy that you are going to your Junior Prom. Aubry and I are heartbroken that we won’t see you on this special day but please know how much we love you. Have a wonderful experience. This is another step along your journey as you make your way into the world. Keep moving forward because the world needs good people like the man you are becoming. Keep moving forward but don’t ever be afraid to turn and look back.
Because you will see the world’s proudest father cheering your every step.
[Note: Shared with the permission of C-Dog.]