This guy is on his way to Washington D.C. with 80 of his classmates. I snapped this picture at 4 a.m. in the deserted airport parking lot, and I knew better than to ask for another. It's fine though because this photo captures what I see.
Look at those man hands. He seems to grow overnight every night. And he's all legs now. This week his new khakis had a 34 inch inseam. In early winter we restocked with 30s. Gone from his face is any trace of boyhood, and rumor has it that he's even shaved, but I'm in serious denial about that one. He's starting to care more about his appearance and is developing his own sense of style. I like it.
Look at his excitement. This guy loves to go places and especially on airplanes. He's a traveler by heart ready to take on new experiences with curiosity. He quipped how great it would be if I were taking him to the airport to board a plane to Colorado, yet we talked most of the way there about all of the worthy things on his jam packed itinerary. I shared with him that D.C. is one of my favorite places to visit, and that I still want to travel there as a family one day. One day soon it'll have to be.
Look at his confidence and charm. He has a level of self-possession I so often admire. He is comfortable anywhere. Everywhere. He can engage anyone. He respects himself and other people. He knows his worth and he values that of others. All others from the homeless person on the street to the priest at the altar. He sees no difference. What a gift he has to embrace life with such a compelling combination of chutzpah and earnestness.
See his bright shining spirit. People are drawn to him and they speak of the essence of his character in ways that sometimes make me blush. He has strong values and a healthy moral code. He knows what is right and that is what he does. I briefly mentioned "the rules" for this trip, but I'm not worried about him breaking any.
Look at his independence and fearlessness. He's ready. Ready for this trip, ready for high school, ready for life. He's eager to try new things, meet new people, go new places. He's ready to forge ahead into a life that I get to hear snippets about, and that just right there is the definition of bittersweet. It is textbook happysad, but really mostly happy. He's coming into his own and that is cause for celebration.
Before I left this morning, he gave me an extra long bear hug (or he allowed me to give him an extra long mom hug), and then he disappeared into a crowd of friends who were happy to see him. For the briefest moment, I felt a tad verklempt, but the prevailing emotions were pride and honor and joy.
This guy...that's my boy.
This guy...that's my boy.