We recently had a milestone birthday in our house. Lucas was born November 6, 1998 at 7:04 in the morning. His was my favorite birth story. There was no drama, no rushing, no panic. There was a peace-filled bath, walking the hallways and joking with Stan and my just-as-pregnant friend who came to the hospital for moral support. Lucas’ story reflects the baby he was. Calm, sweet and loving. While I can’t say he remained calm, I can say, without hesitation in my voice, he has remained sweet and loving. I just can’t believe the little baby we brought home from the hospital is now 16. I can’t believe the sweet, little blond boy is almost able to be behind the wheel of a car by himself. I will cry on that day. The day he gets to drive away without me will be perhaps a bigger milestone than when Zach got to drive away for the first time. I will explain why in a letter to him…
My sweet, little, blond boy,
You are now 16. It’s taking me a while to wrap my head around the fact that you are closer to being an adult than you are to being a boy now, because in my mind you’ll always be my sweet, little blond boy. You earned that title. You deserve to have it. I want you to have it. Forever.
You’ve been sweet and loving since the day you made your entrance into the world. Out of the three of you kiddos, you were the calmest baby. You were easily soothed and rarely made a fuss. You didn’t complain or make demands. You enjoyed being loved and snuggled. You were a joy as a baby.
And then you hit two. You turned into the most whirling of all of the dervishes. You were hard to keep in place and even harder to discipline. You had the blondest hair and biggest, brownest eyes, and the light in them sparkled with a mischievous glint. Staying mad at you was next to impossible, even as you slashed and gashed Dad’s leather chair and ottoman, escaped from the house and climbed into our neighbors cars. You would look at us with your wide-eyed innocence, without a trace of malice in your soulful stare, and all was forgiven.
For me, all of what I just said is still who you are. I know there is not a malicious bone in your body. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have the kindest heart and the most giving soul. I know you would give your family and friends the shirt off of your back if they asked, or even if they didn’t. You still don’t complain or make demands. You have a warmth emanating from within that draws people to you. I know your wide-eyed innocence is so deeply ingrained in you, it is simply a part of who you are. All of these things are what I see and what I love most about you.
But what makes me a little sad is that your whirling dervish ways began to fade away, for the greater public, around 7th grade. Your spirit got somewhat broken and battered. A certain set of powers-that-be at a certain location determined you had malice and you intended to cause harm. They, in turn, intended to put a stop to your mischievous ways. And they did. You stopped being that kid who never met a stranger. You stopped being the one to stick out your hand and say, “Hi, my name is Lucas. Wanna be my best friend?” You became careful in who you allowed into your circle. You became cautious in your dealings with people in authoritarian roles. You let the light in your eyes fade a little when you met new people. The dervish you once were doesn’t whirl for most to see.
I still see all of this in you, though. I still see who as you were. As you enter your 16th year, I want you to know that it’s OK to show the world that sparkle in your eyes. It’s OK to be that kid who never met a stranger. It’s OK whirl your dervish a little and regain some of the goofy, little, blond boy who is in these pictures ~ for all the world to see.
All of the kid you once were can all be tempered with who you are now. Cautiousness with a hint of mischief is the perfect balance. A sparkle in your eyes and the ability to stick out your hand to a new face shows the warmth of your spirit. A little whirl mixed with a hint of dervish and an innocent heart is beyond spectacular. But you probably already know all of this. You are wiser than I realize sometimes.
16 is a big year. You’ll get your driver’s license and be able to drive away from our nest by yourself for the first time. I won’t like it one, little bit. I will cry on that day, because it will be then that I know you are a little more grown up than I want, a little more mature than I care to admit and a little more ready for the world than I’m ready to believe. You have grown up in the blink of an eye. I’m not ready for you to be 16.
I want you to know, Little Blond One, I believe in you with every fiber of my being. I see big things in your future. I see you for who you were as a little boy and who you are today. And I love it. I just want you to whirl your dervish for the entire world to see. The world deserves it and so do you.
I love you.