Nineteen and Counting

Happy birthday, sweet William.

I suppose you don’t know who Rod Stewart is or the song, Forever Young, but if you did you would know that it’s a song that makes moms cry (even after Pampers ruined it by incorporating it into a commercial). Stewart sings, May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam. And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home. And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true. And do unto others as you’d have done to you. Be courageous and be brave. And in my heart you’ll always stay forever young.”

Yet the song that has been with me tonight is With a Little Help From My Friends. I hear it over and over as pictures of you growing up play like a slideshow in my minds eye. It is hard to imagine that it has been nineteen years since the epidural didn’t work and the nurse dropped me on the floor minutes after your birth. Everything about that birthday summed up what it would be like to be your mom: an adventure from the very start with a boy who makes me laugh harder than just about anyone. I think between 2001 and now the one thing I have really learned is that my community of friends is absolutely the only way I get by. This includes you.

I have been talking to a lot of people lately about the personality trait best described as reliable. You, dear boy, are by far one of the most reliable souls I have ever met. If you say you will do something you do it. If you promise to show up, you do. No one has to ask you twice. You say what you mean. It’s a really admirable quality and I think maybe it is why that song came to mind.

It’s strange to be in this Covid-19 quarantine world. I have been getting by because you are here, sheltering the storm with me. I know it hasn’t been easy. Your flexibility with it all, your willingness to take on two jobs and finish school while maintaining a positive attitude speaks volumes of your character. Thank you THANK YOU for caring so deeply for your younger brother … for helping him on his scooter and for playing catch with him and for being such an amazing role model.

I am in awe of how much you grew up your first year in college. You met a girl. A dream of a girl. You took on a boatload of courses, many of which were beyond your comfort zone. Who knew I would be getting late night college calls about helping dissect essays about black trans feminist theory? I have been so proud of your efforts to raise awareness and funds towards Black Lives Matter and for your patience with friends who aren’t quite there yet. You see the big picture. Visionary is too small a word.

I know that personally you aren’t thrilled to be spending nineteen without a ton of your own friends around, but it could be worse. During Lizzie’s birthday we sat in a cold garage and at hot dogs, so I mean … at least you have Mattie here and Luke came home and together, we will get by.

Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Stay firm in your convictions, William Grey. The world is changing rapidly and it is important to still dream, to not settle. Use your imagination for good. Love, always, at first sight and don’t be afraid of what you cannot see. I love you completely.


About kellyinrepeat

mom, wife, artist, writer, teacher, dog lover, pie maker, who believes that all things are possible
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3 Responses to Nineteen and Counting

  1. Pat Frederick says:

    Talk about making you cry! Beautiful letter, Kelly dear. …and William’s sweet young deer showed up in our back yard while I was making his banana cream pie yesterday. She just stared and stared at me. She came to remind me how how magical he is, and will always be. He is all love.


  2. Shoes says:

    Such beautiful words! Every time I look at my oldest, who is 14, I just can’t believe that much time has passed.

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