If your life was a road trip, I would find myself wondering why on earth we ever did even one mile over the speed limit, why we passed any other cars, why we didn’t make more stops along the way. I already regret every, “Are we there yet?”
You’re 13 today and you wear it well. This is both a compliment and not. You are moody and emotional, complicated and complex. You have opinions and insights about the world, politics, humanity, and movie reboots. There are things in your life I don’t know, which is a relatively new phenomenon. Or so I like to think.
You’re also witty and sweet, ethereally handsome, and still boyish in all of the right ways, even as your shoulders are broadening and your feet outpace mine in size and stride.
The teenage years are like a highway under construction — the trip takes on a new element of challenge, even for an experienced driver, with detours and barricades and near constant confusion. I’m learning to appreciate the traffic and the opportunity it provides to remember that this journey won’t be forever…and that’s the best and worst thing.
One day we will roll up to our destination and it will be awesome in the un-casual sense, in the true meaning of the word awe. The adult version of you will dwarf the wonder of the Grand Canyon. You are the gift that I have given the world and I am confident in my offering. I will revel in the success of our arrival…and I will mourn our journey’s ending all the same. I will lament those cheesy roadside attractions that I chose to skip, and the boring hours will take on the rosy glow that only nostalgia can bring.
I love you, Big Kid. My actual big kid now.
I hope I’ve planned enough and not too much, I hope I’ve made the hours pass with ease, I hope you know that I knew the way even when it seems like I didn’t.
Because you are my way.
Thanks for accompanying me so closely on this leg of our trip through life, and for being the best guide I could give and get.
I like you, I love you, and I’ll always protect you.