As usual your birthday month kicks off another year of “Letters To My Sons” — incredibly its 6th edition — and is another chance for a written celebration about YOU! Beginning third grade at MCS with some of your best friends (Thomas again!) and the teacher of your choice, you’re off to a pretty great start!
The other day you stopped me in my tracks with the words, “Mommy, (pause)… I love being your son.” I looked over at you, mouth dropped open; the kindness in that simple sentence was astonishing. And I love being your Mom Cash, in ways I’ve always known and others I’m still discovering are meant to expand my heart.
A few weeks ago you shared that from now on you’d only be calling me “Mommy” in private or just around family, and it was obvious you were concerned with how I’d take the news: “It’s not that I don’t want to call you ‘Mommy’ … I mean I don’t want to hurt your feelings … And I may even slip up from time to time because I really still want to call you that, but just probably not in front of my friends or at school … Is that okay?”
I assured you that it was absolutely okay. More than any emotion felt by the name change request as a mother — as your mother — I was floored by the kind way in which you came to talk with me about it.
You show the same kindness toward complete strangers. Like the day you came home from school and said, “Mommy, I hope it’s okay with you, but I gave one of my dollars to a homeless man today.” According to your teacher, your class was coming back from Central Park when you walked a little ahead so you’d have time to put money in the man’s cup. “His sign said ‘I lost my job and I have two kids’. And I just felt really bad for him.”
Not surprisingly you hate bullying, shy away from gossip and are very attuned to when someone’s feelings are hurt and if you are the cause of it, you’ll check yourself pretty quickly. Once you laughed alongside your friends when another classmate whiffed the ball during soccer, but when you noticed his hurt feelings, your teacher said you walked over on your own accord and apologized.
At times your kind heart causes me to check my own self. There’s a boy at school with behavioral issues and instead of turning against him or putting him down, even when the target of his outbursts, you show genuine compassion. “I know how to handle him Mommy. And maybe things are going on that make him feel bad, so that’s why he tries to hurt other people?” I’ve taught you over the years about why bullies bully, but when I’m going off the rails after he’s done something to you or one of your peers, you’ll reflect back those teachings, calm me down and restore my compassion. It’s rather amazing.
But it’s not entirely without exception and any mother knows that to be true. While you’ve always been self-reflective beyond your years and able to express your feelings, you’ve got a petulant streak that can rise up like a phoenix from the ashes, often times followed up with a shrug. “That’s me. That’s just who I am.” When I hear this from teachers or camp counselors, I can’t lie, I wonder if I should be concerned.
Then I talk with Aunt Gail who reminds me that you are just like Alex when he was your age. You want what you want when you want it, and can be impatient. Plus you think you know everything. “But he’ll learn,” says Gail, “Look at Alex now. Attentive, good-natured, polite, and dare I say — patient!”
And she’s right. You’ll be ALL THAT — as well as a kind, loving civil rights warrior!
There’s a girl that you’ve got a crush on this year, and you finally told me who it is only after I promised not to tell a soul. Not Daddy, not even Grey. And so it remains our secret. But one thing that’s not a secret — one thing I know for sure — is she’s the luckiest girl in the world!
And I’m the luckiest Mom.
Happy birthday Cash! You make the world a brighter place!
I love you. Always and forever. Mom