Oh what a gift you are to me! I was so scared when Oliver left for Navy last summer. The school enforced sequester during plebe summer was terrifying. Yes, his letters indicated that he was just where he wanted to be and that all was going well for him. But I, his mother, who has spent the past eighteen years of his life dedicated to his growth and well-being , couldn’t see it, couldn’t hear it, couldn’t touch it or smell it on the daily basis to which I’d become accustomed. I am anything but a helicopter parent but it was hard. I knew his wings were strong and his roots deep, but with whom would he fly? How would he find a flock?
But as the fall nestled into our lives and the geese began their journey south, the answers began to appear. There was someone else, another mid on the team, who struggled. Who was kind and smart, Someone he hung with and talked to and went out with. Whose parents embraced him and nourished him in body and spirit. And that someone was and is your son. He was a mystery to me. A faceless name about whom I heard frequent but minimal references, as is signature of my own child’s reticence.
And then we met on the bleachers at Bucknell. And you were beautiful and generous and faithful too. This assured me of his progress and value and connection with your son. And you did it all without solicitation or reservation. You shared information, stories, advice. You called and texted and sent photos and anecdotes. You hosted and fed them at your home. You shared your company and hospitality with him when you visited. You cheered him on when I wasn’t there. You celebrated his little victories along the way, even his first birthday away from us!
You have grown an amazing young man, whom I am beginning to know for myself. But in the meantime, I have come to know you and your family and I can’t tell you how important that has been in my letting go and trusting God and believing that I have given enough. You have told me that I have done good work and sometimes I really need to hear that. Especially from someone who owes me nothing.
You are a messenger of my Higher Power. Just yesterday, you apprised me of their latest adventure to the Amish market in town. Of the magnificent feast you prepared and shared with the entire flock.
Right now, your son is the point of the vee, bearing the brunt of the wind and navigating the path. You have taught him well. He is strong and kind and genuine. And when he needs rest, my son will take over the lead for as long as he can, in love and respect to the leaders and followers before him. But truly, you have raised the very best kind of leader- the one with a faithful flock who will work in unison to nurture and support the well-being and thriving of the whole. Yes, Shannon, you have done this and I am so grateful to you.
God bless you !