Sunday, May 15, 2011
Surely it wasn’t four years ago that I wrote about how hard it was to let my baby fly from the nest.
Yet this past Friday, on a gloriously sunny southern California morning, he flew even further. Max graduated from college.
I got goose bumps when the grads filed by. All those hopeful, beautiful faces, beaming with pride - their mortarboards tilted just so, their robes and tassels waving in the warm breeze. Delighted friends and family members snapped pictures, the marching band played, and I was surprised when a few tears welled up in my eyes.
Little Jeffrey (he changed his name to Max at age five) became a young man just when I seemed to turn around for a minute.
He gave us a run for our money; he’d be the first to admit that. We had our moments. But don’t all the amazing and spectacular moments stand out at times like this? And don't those tricky curves we navigated along the way make these moments that much sweeter?
I could list those amazing and spectacular memories here, but I think I’ll keep them tucked away to myself just now.
There is one I’d like to share, though, and it happened as recently as Friday night.
Our little family had gathered at the bar in the hotel. Abbie and Sam bought a round of drinks, and Henry was being bounced on one lap, then another. We toasted the graduate and gave him his graduation cards and gifts. We talked about what a wonderful day it had been. We talked about his future plans. Max never looked or sounded more confident, optimistic and pleased. As he spoke and gestured, I caught a glimpse of his independent spirit - a young man excited and eager to go off into the world on his own to see what he may find, to see what he might do.
And just as I was willing to let him go once more, a wonderful thing happened.
He reached over and took Eddie and me in his arms. Through his tears, he thanked us for all the opportunities we have given him. His handsome face rested against my cheek, and for just a few seconds, he was my little boy again. The stubble on his chin brought me back to the present, but my own tears had already begun to fall.
How proud I felt, both of what he was as a young boy and what he has become as a young man.
How grateful I am that he is still willing to let us see him at his most tender.
Our children are special gifts.
Go well, Max.
And, by the way... thank you.