To My Son: As You Approach Your Fifteenth Birthday

Serious face

This Sunday you will turn fifteen.

It will be the anniversary of your birth.

It will also be the twenty-month anniversary of your father's death.

I hate that those two things have a shared date.

I hate more that you have no father. I hate that you don't have YOUR father.

I have given you his razor so you can shave, a milestone he missed.

I have given you his cell phone, his clothes, his wallet, and all of the love I have within me, and it still isn't enough to give you back your father.

Yet, somehow, you are okay.

A-OK

You are kind.

You are loving.

You are happy.

You laugh.

You bring us joy.

You make sure the people you love are okay in the world.

You make sure the people Daddy loved are okay, too.

You continue to learn and grow and drink all of the milk in a 25-mile radius of our house and, for that, I am truly thankful if not slightly poorer monetarily.

Your dance moves rival those of the late Michael Jackson, but with more Chris Farley overtones circa the Patrick Swayze SNL Chippendale sketch.

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Your modeling poses are less Blue Steel and more Lavender Aluminum, but you'll get there.

And keep doing that thing you do in the kitchen, because I think you've got real talent there. You can cook, my boy. You have a flair for the flavors. Your sauces are coming along nicely. The béchamel is a great place for any teenager to start.

I love you,

Mom

P.S. Don't forget to research getting that learner's permit. We need to get you behind the wheel as soon as is legally possible, sir. That minivan you're destined to inherit isn't going to pilot itself.