A story about a child.
He came in to the world in no unusual way--sweet smelling and happy and infinitely loved by those around him.
His parents spent a lot of time loving him and in the process, made a bazillion mistakes.
But, they tried.
They worked with him to talk, walk, hold a fork, use the potty.
They laid with him in bed during bad dreams and allowed him to snuggle in their bed when he was sick.
They were lucky enough to be surrounded by great friends and family and mentors.
And overall, they did a pretty good job.
But again, they messed up.
Sometimes, they pushed him to do things he wasn't ready to do.
Sometimes, they held him back when he was ready to move forward.
Sometimes, they were too hard on him.
Sometimes, they were too soft on him.
Sometimes, they got angry when they should've been understanding.
Sometimes, they let him get by with something they shouldn't have.
And the years passed.
And the boy began to grow up.
He began to have his own interests and his own friends and his own agenda.
Some days, the parents thought they had gotten it wrong.
Some days, the parents knew they had gotten it right.
One day, the boy started pre-school.
And as he walked with his daddy into school each morning, he met an older gentlemen; Mr. Norm by name.
Mr. Norm began to say 'hello' as he passed the boy each day.
The boy answered back and would ask Mr. Norm how he was doing.
Everyday, they talked a little, and then, over time, a little more.
The boy told Mr. Norm about superheroes and the team he cheered for and his baby sister.
Mr. Norm told the boy about driving a train in Hiroshima during World War II and his wife and the team he cheered for.
Some mornings, they just chatted, and some mornings were special--like the one when Mr. Norm (at age 86) agreed to "scare" the boy by racing him around the hallways at church and 'surprising' him on the other side.
They became friends.
One day, the boy, who was just learning to write and spell, made a card for Mr. Norm, all on his own. The card had 3 simple words: the boy's name, "Mr. Norm" and the letters of Mr. Norm's favorite team.
The boy was thrilled to deliver it to Mr. Norm later that week.
Mr. Norm exclaimed over receiving the card and thanked the boy.
A few weeks later, the boy and his daddy saw Mr. Norm having coffee at a local store.
Mr. Norm introduced the boy to his friends.
And then, he reached into his pocket, and pulled out the card.
He was still carrying it with him after all that time.
And the parents knew that they had nothing to do with this beautiful moment.
It was all the boy's and Mr. Norm's.
If you haven't guessed, this boy is my son.
And I am his mother.
One of those who keeps messing up.
But, I have learned that he is good, in spite of me, in spite of bad days, in spite of a messed-up world.
In fact, he is a being totally apart from me.
I have influence, but his heart originates in him.
In fact, in trying to teach for so many years, I often forget how much I still have to learn.
And how much he can teach me.
Like, remembering that true love isn't based on discipline and achievement on which we parents often focus our energies.
Love is so much simpler than that.
A heart willing to connect with others.
It's a little person looking up at an 86 year old man and seeing a kindred spirit.
Love is in these little people, if only we have the eyes to see it and the wisdom to stay out of the way.
Happy 5th Birthday to a little boy who is funny, smart, musical, persistent, ambitious and oh-so-full-of-love. I am truly lucky to be your mom.
I can't wait to see what else you have to teach me.