I have the great privilege of working in a college. By nature, it is a place in which students come and go, change and transform, rise, fall, and rise again. Over the past 13 years, I have met, taught, and worked with thousands of students. And, there are always a few students who hold a very special place in my heart. Who are they? Well, Some people like students who are great leaders. Some people like students who are movers, shakers, and do-ers. Me? I am most in awe of students who have loving souls.
Loving souls? What is that? These are the individuals who have love in their hearts, love in their minds, and move through this world having made someone better simply by being who they are. While I have interacted with thousands of students, directly worked with hundreds of students, and certainly have a great relationship with tens of students, there are only a handful who make my inner spirit feel at peace. Thankfully, the past few weeks have given me opportunity to run into some of these students. And, even in the midst of stress, exhaustion, and doubt, the very presence of these folks have allowed me to breathe easier at times.
Tonight, I find myself on the eve of my son’s birthday… already. He will be 1
year old tomorrow. It’s amazing — when I’m having a bad day, when work has gotten to me, when I’m feeling overwhelmed by my health and surgery, I simply need to see my son and life manages to reset itself. Though my sister Grace is disgusted by the “stinky, milky, icky smell” (her words, not mine) found in the region of baby folds of my son’s neck, that’s my comfort zone. The smell of yogurt in his hair. The sticky feel of fruit juice on his forehead. The leftover macaroni stuck, miraculously, to his stomach. When my son wraps his little fingers around my thumb and walks down the hallway with me, I feel the beginning of our journey together. These baby steps will lead to running. And, soon the running will lead to, “Yeah, Mom. Could you, like, walk a little behind me and my friends?”
But, on this eve of his birthday, he is still my little boy. He is my comfort, my joy, and the very definition of the inner spirit of love. On the eve of his birthday, he seeks to connect with people around what they have in common — even when that thing in common leads to grabbing, hitting, and crying (usually with his cousin, Kai).
The eve of my son’s birthday is both exciting and sad. It’s such a milestone of a birthday, and as each new milestone passes, I am reminded that he is my last child. With my increased risk of cancer, and my increasing age, I am taking fast steps to make sure that I’m around to see many more of my son’s birthdays and many more of his milestones.
So, Son, on the eve of your first birthday, I am thankful for you in my life. I am thankful for your love, your ability to wash away my worries and fears, and all that you will continue to grow to be.
Peace, love, and many more birthday memories,