Tears fill my eyes as I contemplate the thoughts that frame this post. Tears of joy? Yes, some. Tears from the pang that is separation? Yes, some. Although, it has been too many years since my oldest son and I shared the same roof, I have always accepted him as ‘home’ when in town. This week his home will officially become a place some 245 miles from where I sit. Steve has taken a job in New York City and starts work there next week.
First, I have to admit that I have failed so many more times at being his Dad than he ever has at being my son. I cannot apologize enough for the errors I have made, nor can I undo the things done. Yes, it pains me to know my first-born goes into the sunset of his youth to take on the world without more, better, timely rearing from the one writing these words. Tears don’t sum this up now, it’s more of an uncontrollable sob. I had no intention of going here, yet here I am in just the second paragraph. Thankfully, this is about him, not me. I just try to get right to how it is because although it hurts at times, it’s safe, and it’s true.
Second, I did make some great choices too. For instance, I can’t imagine that Steve could have been blessed with a better mother. He always has carried himself well, and had extraordinary insight at young ages, but he also always had his mother. I did my share, but where that measures up will be my cross to bear, and maybe Steve’s too. My door is open, my mind is clear, and my heart walks the path it should, so to do I hope this for all of my kids, and certainly now for Stephen.
My cheeks feel the air in cool streaks as the moisture from my tears evaporates into the dry wintry air. The rest of me is overheated with emotion and the sweltering embrace such a reaction carries with it. I think of my son. He bears my name. He walks this earth along with me, and he is such a new and improved version of this name. I hesitate to use the word legacy because people use the word often, but not always is it used in its truest meaning, so I will spin my thoughts on my son, my legacy, and the connection I see.
I start with a couple of meanings of the word ‘legacy’: 1) an amount of money or property left to someone in a will. 2) a thing handed down by a predecessor. I find beauty in words themselves because they carry so much meaning when huddled together or strung out for all to see. Aside from my actual will, I look forward to the world that has been left, or at least shared with, Steve and his will. For it is in his will, his determination, and his desires that I share excitement in his future. Furthermore, I challenge Steve to seek God’s will and utilize his strengths in alignment with Him. Formidable may be an understatement. In a timeline of our lives I am certainly Steve’s precursor. Handed down, if you can call it that, are the things concerning biochemistry for sure. There are lessons on and off of ball fields and courts. There are examples to learn from on both sides of the equation. There is the constant work in progress that I hope none of us ever get too big, or too good for. There is love unconditional and boundless from father toward son, and I know there will be days when that shows up, or is needed, more than others. Like the weather though, it’s always there, sometimes more noticeable than others. There are many things, but mostly there is hope, there is anticipation, there is joy in knowing who he is, there is exhilaration in trying to fathom his potential, and there is certainty found in the faith I have in him as a young man.
I am proud to be a father and I take it seriously. I am eternally blessed to have the children that have been entrusted to my care. So, as Steve takes on this new chapter in the book detailing his life, I welcome the view of his life that a father is allowed, whatever that might be.
My poetic prayer of sorts…May his steps be led by forces greater than himself. May he always have time to disengage long enough to never lose sight of the little things in life that we long for more and more as we edge our way further along life’s path. May he always revere, respect, remember, and love his mother with every fiber of his being, as this will never betray him. May he run when others may walk, but not blindly, rather from his confidence in preparation, foresight, and determination to make a difference. May he love unconditionally. May he feel fully. May he fail enough to recognize and lock away in his own annals, the sweet taste of success. May he engage in life’s moments fully with all of his senses even for a few seconds than wish he had been paying closer attention, after the fact. May he love God, himself, and his family; and truly mean it, for when the days of our lives dwindle there will not be another group of beings we’d rather be surrounded by. May he know himself deeply and intimately because in the moments that our minds crave when time and distance from the next rung on the mental ladder of structure present themselves, chaos can ensue. May he know his limits and understand his strengths especially as they relate to the planet’s most valuable asset, people. May he listen often. May he speak with a voice that is strong, with words that are calculated, and with concern for things outside of himself. May he remember that there is much love and support for him wherever he goes. May he be resourceful enough to know when he needs help and when he needs to just work harder, or learn from his experiences. May he return to us all safely and often as we will bide our time engaged in our lives, waiting with bated breath for his shadow to once again darken our thresholds.
I love you Steve. I wish you nothing but the best, and I have faith in your ability to look after yourself. I am here always, if you need me. I will miss you. We all will miss you.