It’s your birthday, dear grandson. You are 21 years old. Incredible! How did it happen so fast?
The round-faced sunny boy has transformed. Your handsome face is chiseled. Your strength is visible in your well-formed muscles and your solid presence. One needn’t know your age to recognize that you are a man.
I have never lived near to you but still we have shared a lot. I wish we could sit down with our photo albums and smile together over our time together. Such a handful you were! Always in motion except for the hours spent making intricate edifices and creatures from your imagination and your piles of Legos.
In MY imagination I can still hug your sturdy body close to me, touching your cheeks and smelling your little boy earthiness.
All of my memories are not of that snuggly boy. You’ve been the actor, the athlete, and the student, the technician, and the all-round comic. And the joy of watching your courage and tenacity while bike racing, for instance, had me cringing with fear and swelling with pride.
Some things I wish I could do over. For sure, I would watch the waves more closely so that we weren’t knocked into the sand together. For sure, I would always remember the sweet spirit behind the orneriness and have a secret smile behind any impatience. For sure, I would pay closer attention to who you were as a person.
And if I had known that time was so fleeting, maybe I wouldn’t have worried so much about getting food ready and would have sat on the grass or on a rock and watched as you ran in circles or played in the creek. Maybe I would have stayed longer and watched you sleep after tucking you in. Maybe I would have urged you to sit longer at the table with me as we were having lunch.
None of that matters, though. I may cherish each memory and look forward to seeing you, but I treasure this moment in time when I can talk to you now and then.
I enjoy your clear thinking and your tender spirit. I admire your quiet confidence and belief in your abilities and capabilities. I love the way you watch out for those you love. I see you move with grace –physically and spiritually – through the world.
How wonderful to call such a man my grandson.
Although I can’t be there for this momentous day, my heart (as usual) is hovering.