The morning you were born and I held you in my arms, I knew I was all in but I had no idea.
I suspected that part of my job was teach you not to be afraid. But I had no idea that you would teach me to let go of my fear too. You taught me to ride a loop rollercoaster & to throw my head back and let myself feel like I am flying. I never would have had the courage to do that if it wasn’t for you. Being your mom, I have become braver than I ever thought I’d could be, speaking out, standing up, trying new things–all for the sake of you.
I thought it would be part of my job to teach you to never give up. But its you who taught me. This summer you worked with me patiently until I learned to do a flip-turn, encouraging me to stay with it even when I struggled, even when I thought it was no use or not important. It was because of you that I haven’t given up–even when life has gotten impossibly hard. You taught me to just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. You inspired me to push on to keep going–all for the sake of you.
I was sure it would be my job to teach you to work hard, buckle down and have discipline. But it is you that gets me out of the house early so you can hit the rink or the pool in the wee hours, putting in your hours, breaking down your shot and your stroke so you can meet every goal that you set in front of you. And truth be told, over the last 12 years I have worked harder than I ever imagined I ever could without even thinking twice. It’s for you really.
I had no idea that the tiny child I held in my arm 12 years ago today would have taught me so much, given me so much, challenged me so much. I had no idea when I held you that I was holding in my arms this amazing potential–that the person I was holding would grow up to be the kind of person who patiently helps younger children with their butterfly stroke and their starting dives, the kind of person who gives his own money to the hungry, the kind of person who stands at the end of his friends lane and cheers his head off to keep him going through 200 painful meters of fly at top speed. I had no idea that the baby I held was the kind of person who would get in the pool and swim 180 laps straight the week of Junior Olympics (when everyone else with any sense was resting) to raise money to build an elementary school in Honduras. I had no idea that the baby I held in my arms would call me out when I was being a hypocrite or challenge me to think of things in a new way. I knew only one thing. Love. And truth is that is all I know now. That is the only thing to know.
I love you so much Max. I am so grateful for the hours we spend reading together, watching Glee, in the car chatting or listening to music. I am grateful that you talk to me when you are upset–especially when you are upset with me. They say these years can be the most difficult as you push away and establish yourself as a young man. I really have no idea–but that’s ok. Because I had no idea how much I would love you and how much that love has pushed me forward, no matter what.
I have no idea what the next few years will bring, but whatever it does I am all in.
Happy 12th birthday.