To my third-born on his 18th birthday
Oh my goodness. Where did the time go?
How is it possible that you, my wise little boy, are now a man?
Wasn’t it only yesterday that you sneaked into a quartet rehearsal, picked up an Oreo off the cookie plate, put it in your mouth and hummed? We all looked at you in amazement.
“It’s my pitch pipe, mama!” you said, all indignant that we didn’t get it.
(You can see the resemblance, can’t you? He was 2 at the time)
We still laugh about it. My chorus buddies think it’s the funniest story ever.
I think you kinda had to be there. But whatever… This is about YOU YOU YOU, my Rocketman, the Z-boy, sometimes (but not recently) known as Dr. Z and currently the one and only Chef Z.
In a mere two days, you and I take off for faraway college-land, where you will stay, and I will leave; where you will learn to be a real chef and run a restaurant and everything. This is the first time you will really have gone away from home. There haven’t been many sleep-away camp experiences, and even when it came to the every-other-weekend thing with your dad, your brothers went – and mostly you stayed with me.
You were the one who was always here. And now you will not be.
Eighteen years ago, they pulled you from my exposed insides (c-section no. 2) and placed you on my chest. You looked up at me with those big blue eyes – and I was lost forever. The eyes have turned more of a gray now, but they still gaze at me with the same intensity that they did all those years ago.
I burst with pride at your accomplishment, and yet I mourn intensely the loss of my wide-eyed, bespectacled little boy with the ginormous vocabulary.
You joined your sister and me on the great shopping debacle on Sunday, and we talked over a crepe lunch about "the boy who never left." The idea that you WILL leave amazes and terrifies me.
Who will harmonize with me in temple? Who will take over the kitchen when I look pathetic and useless? Who will be the other half of the comedy team of Jay-Zee? Who will live in sloth at the top of the stairs? (Oh wait, the sloth part? THAT I won't miss. Well, maybe a little.)
Fly, my little bird. Fly from the nest. But remember always who loves you best.
All my love aways,