Happy 22, Luke. Sometimes when I type your name I still hear the Montessori basketball parents shouting LUUUUUUKE each time scored. Your name is one I cheer often. Gosh I miss you. I am really excited that you are moving to LA this summer and curious to see what adventures that holds for you and your uncle Christopher. So many of your mannerisms remind me of his. I hope it feels like two peas in a pod. I hope it feels generous and warm and inviting and exciting. I hope it feels like your life is launching in the most delicious and delicate of ways.
My dad was twenty-two when I was born. Imagine that. I lived in New York at twenty-two. I had a cat named Ponch, named after Poncho Barnes when I thought the cat was a girl. I hate cats, but I loved that one. He kissed my eyelids when I slept. I remember twenty-two feeling kind of free. It has been exciting to see your newest paintings and to hear about the progression of your career as an actor. I sense you are irritated by my many questions, as if they are too prying, but really I just am trying to get a sense of your day … of your friends and teachers … trying, I suppose, to get a pulse of your life. Your absence here … it’s just… hmm.. It’s like when you go to school everyday with your best friend and then one day they are sick and therefore absent and the whole day just ends up feeling a little off. So forgive my many questions, my stupid questions, the tone of my questions … I am just trying to find my way in the evolution of my role as mom. It’s harder to navigate than you might imagine.
I have a solo show coming up in November. My proposal for the show was all about the idea of identity as an artist and mother and how to cope with letting go. Lizzie keeps asking me why I am not crying all the time like I did your senior year. I cannot be certain of why. I am either in denial or I just have learned that all those tears didn’t stop the inevitability of life changing. I am reminded of Kathy’s Song by Simon and Garfunkel: “And as I watch the drops of rain weave their weary paths and die I know that I am like the rain. There but for the grace of you go I.”
The grace of you. “The free and unmerited favor of God.” I like that number. 22. The symmetry, harmonious balance, perfect proportions. I hope the year ahead holds that for you. I hope you feel loved. I hope you feel at home. I hope you feel that dreams are real and that imagination is a powerful creator. I hope you feel enough weathered .. toughened up just enough so that the unexpected doesn’t extinguish your desire to create.
Quinn thinks it is crazy and strange that you won’t be home on your birthday. He thinks we should pick you up. I wish we could do that too. I wish we could share a drink and blow out pie candles. I will imagine you instead, on stage, performing in Much Ado About Nothing, your lucky grandparents in the audience, and in my imagination, I will find the symmetry that ties you to me and along that fine line, I will find gratitude for all that we are.
I miss you. I love you. More and more. Happy Seattle Birthday. xo Mom