Of all the titles and things I've been called in my life, the most precious is to be this boy's mother. 16 years ago, our long awaited first child made his way into the world in a manner we've become very used to. Casual, cool, not without coaxing...and well worth the wait.
In that hospital room, in the middle of the night, after a day with Jason and others, acquainting ourselves with his toes and his nose, his earlobes and elbows...I found myself alone with a small squishy faced boy who stared at me unblinkingly as if he were trying to acquaint himself equally with me from the outside. I laid him on the bed, wrapped in a flannel sheet, and we stared at each other for a long time in the dim light from the hallway. I told him all the things I hoped for him...most of all that he would be happy and make others happy as well. That he would be filled with mercy and strength to be a leader in our world. And that he would know how very deeply he was loved and how much he was wanted by his dad and I.
16 years later, I think back this morning on that little heart to heart with a little bundle that fit in one arm and who now towers above me at 6'2" and with those same eyes that can make me do nearly anything he wishes. This morning, I sent him off to high school, learning french, playing football, making friends on the same kind of windy, blustery fall day that welcomed him to this world. And I realize, all the things I asked of him in those middle of the night hours have come to be. He is compassionate and happy. He's a leader and equally comfortable in the goal net or in the streets of Mulenga, completely mobbed by the children whose names he remembers and who he plays tirelessly with. He wears many hats - he's a student and an employee, a volunteer and an advocate. He's a goofball friend and a sincere learner. He's a leader even when he's not mindful of it. He's the nut bar cousin of 7 amazing kids and he's a grandson and a nephew...but most of all, he's my son. And I'm so thankful.