When my late wife informed me that she was pregnant, I was overjoyed and scared. The ensuing months were both wonderful and scary. We were bringing new life into the world. What a huge responsibility.
But, mostly, scary.
When Jo Ellen gave birth to my first son, Chase, it was…wow. This little person, my son. Just wow. How cool was that? My son. MY SON!
But, then it was like holy crap…what the hell do we do now?
Well, you be the best parent you can be, enlist those who you trust and…you wing it. That’s pretty much what we did.
Throughout Chase’s early life, we faced a number of challenges, mostly medical in nature. Chase was born with defective blood. A specific part of his white blood cells were not produced sufficiently to keep him healthy. Chase got sick. A lot. He was on many different treatments and medications throughout his young life, we really did not know how they would affect him. Or, if he would even make it to his tenth birthday.
He did. He made it. And, through out it all, stayed even keeled. He took it all in stride. He was really laid back and quiet.
He was (and is) very smart. By the time he made it to his tenth birthday, we knew he was going to be fine. Not only was he going to be fine, we knew the crap he went through had not hampered his intelligence, congnitive abilities or any such thing.
As his time in high school drew to a close, I knew his time with us was drawing to a close. Once in awhile, I would think about it, but then put it out of my head. He got a car and a job, well, two jobs for a bit. He worked his normal job at the grocery store but, during the Halloween season, he was a scary guy at Kings Dominion. He relished that role. And, though he may not admit it, he relishes being the big brother. When he played with Preston and Xander, it was like watching my eight year Chase all over again. Only, in a much bigger package.
And, while the house may still be full of laughter and the sound of kids playing, it won’t be the same.
Chase moved out today.
My little guy is all grown up. Not so little anymore, he’s taller than I am. Not so helpless now (though, he may still need us, from time to time) and able to excel at whatever he does. Not so childlike, he has turned into a fine young man, one that any parent would be very proud to call son.
And, though is only ten minutes away, it feels like days…and, it’s only been hours as I write this.
I have a message for him, though he already knows:
Little buddy, I am so proud of you. You have given me, given all of us, such joy. As a child and, now, as a young man. Our trips last year to the theme parks were very special and I will always treasure those memories, indeed, all of our trips, experiences and memories.
Both of your mothers were and are very proud of you and what you have become, just as I am. As I know your grandparents would be as well.
Keep doing what you are doing. And, remember, anytime you need us, we will be there.