Somehow 20 years has slipped through my grasp. Why is it I don’t recall anyone telling me that parenthood is a series of letting go?
The other day, I found a pair of your first walking shoes. I can remember holding your hands in an effort to help you balance. A grasp became a fingertip hold and then I let go when I thought you were ready and eager to step away from our connection.
In no time, you were running.
This has been a special year. Your dream of attending and running in college has come true. I know it wasn’t easy to leave home. It was hard for me too, so I welcomed those nightly phone calls. Now, I welcome the absence of them. I never doubted that you would find your balance and let me go.
This week, someone asked me what my vision was for you when you’re finished with college. First I said, “It’s an unwritten rule that parents shouldn’t think too far into the future.” Then I tried to explain that I don’t have a vision for your future. Even if I did, it would be far more inconsequential than the vision you have for yourself. Your future has absolutely nothing to do with my desires. Your future is not about me. My job as a parent has been to follow your lead, encourage your interests, and support you in whatever way I possibly can. That you have your own vision is a success story above anything I could have originally conjured up 18 plus years ago when you were first diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
While it is true that I have spent your entire lifetime advocating for you in an effort to pry open the doors that were so easily closed, you have taken on every opportunity with hard work, joy and gratitude.
Keep building your visions. You’re doing a fantastic job and I am so incredibly proud of you.
I am so lucky to have a son who still hugs me tight in public and says I love you no matter who’s in earshot. I will always treasure that connection and because you have such great emotional intelligence, I know you will as well. It is a connection that space and time and even the act of letting go cannot break.
I love you and wish you the happiest of birthdays.
4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Sebastian”
You are an amazing and inspiring mom.
Thank you Susan! xoxoxoxo
Joanne unfailingly strikes the right note, conjuring images that capture the perfect mood, crafting simple, unadorned prose that convey the labyrinth of complex emotions that infuse our interpersonal relationships. Thank you for sharing all with us.
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Thank you Joe! I think of you often. So happy to hear from you!