I didn’t mean it. When I told you that you were stubborn (back when you were only a week old), I didn’t mean it. Or, I meant it then, but I think now you were just communicating your willfulness. And desire. For food, for life, for the winter season. Making a statement.
That photo? You look so little, there in that field, with a bunch of flowers in your hair and sporting a New York t-shirt. A successful parent is one who can make you appreciate both – nature and New York (and Istanbul and Buenos Aires). And so in this way, I have not failed.
We toddled along, you and I. You, more patiently than I, of that I am certain. I forgave you your long hours at work and play, I forgave you your way of scorning the vegetables on your plate. And you forgave me my insistence that there be room for everything in your life (even the vegetables). And you tested and tasted life and made up your own mind and the one minute we were not watching, there you were, holding onto a plateful of good things.
Bold steps, one after another -- an early start, you walked before anyone on the planet. No one has your concentration, your attention to the finer details of life. Thank you for not dwelling on the imperfections that are all around us, even as I try to get a handle on it all, realizing that one never does fully get a handle on it all.
You fit in. In life, you fit in. You are that flexible, that curious, that tolerant of those with strong convictions (yes, I have food convictions, I admit it – and you humor me and work next to me as we pile food onto plates and trays, side by side, you and I in the kitchen – thank you for this).
Twenty-two is like two twos, two terrible twos only you were never terrible. It’s as if you skipped from being one, to a confluence of ages and years so that you have always been a child and an adult and you worried along with me when I worried about you because you understood that sometimes one needs to worry.
But mostly, your face has been a barrelful of expressions. You can make lizards dance with that mouth down pout. You have made us laugh hard.
Your sister adores you, your dad does too, and your friends, but move over, people, there is room for me! I adore you so much, my little one!
…with so much love…