Dear son, Is it possible? You're graduating from high school this week? ALREADY?!!

Seriously, didn't we just return to Utah from New York where our family lived for a year? You were 3 years old when we moved there, and one of the first things I did was to lose you on Liberty Island.

I took my eyes off you for five seconds (FIVE SECONDS! Dude! I looked up at the Statue of Liberty! Was that such an irresponsible, bad-mother thing to do?) and the next thing I knew you were gone. Poof! Just like that.

You'd darted off like a shiny minnow through a sea of tourists' legs.

OK. I don't think I have EVER felt sicker with panic and dread than I did at that moment. Your older brothers and grandmother quickly fanned out to search for you. I went looking for a security guard while imagining the worst.

(As it turns out, "imagining the worst" comes pretty easily when you've just lost a 3-year-old on a hot summer day in New York. Take my word for it.)

The good news is that I found you. Yes! You were in the gift shop with a hundred other tourists, reaching for a snow globe. The only difference between you and the hundred other tourists, in fact, is that they weren't wearing Pampers pull-ups.

Possibly because they weren't 3 years old.

I scooped you up in my arms and covered your sticky neck with fierce kisses, which completely irritated you. You wanted me to put you DOWN. Immediately! You wanted to hit the floor running. You wanted to see everything there was to see on Liberty Island, and for sure you didn't want me (or anybody else, including grandmothers and security guards) to get in your way.

I've always thought of this as a defining story about you. It wouldn't have occurred to your brothers to charge off like that when they were 3 years old. But you were different from your brothers. You were always, always in the mood to take something on.

I loved that about you. I have loved every single detail about you from the second you bit off your first breath. And so has your father. You came into our lives during a season of grief and you took that grief away.

Flash forward. I think it's fair to say that high school hasn't exactly been a dream come true for you. I'm sorry, but there it is.

That's how the whole American high school experience works out sometimes, I'm afraid.

Here's the really terrific news, though. As of this week, high school is over. OVER! You never ever have to think about it again.

Unless you want to. And if you do think about it, you'll realize that four years really isn't that long after all. Oh, honey. It is such a big life. And it does go on.

Speaking of which, there's a lot for you to look forward to right now. You're going to like a lot of what comes next. Trust me. As for me, I can hardly wait to hear the sound of your feet hard on the pavement again. Running.

Happy graduation.

Love, Mom


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