Friday, December 2, 2011

You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

I woke up this morning feeling ten tons lighter thanks to my decision yesterday to gather together my Moth balls and withdraw from that project. But it gets better. I was feeling all Day-day-enu, when, as I came to the surface, a surge of additional SUPER GRATITUDE filled me as I remembered the last thing I'd been thinking before I fell asleep. Today, this very day, is  THE 21st BIRTHDAY of HENRY MOWGLI GILLESPIE!

Put your hands together people! And don't just put them together for Henry and me. Give yourself a round of applause. Because holy mackerel-- you want to talk about the whole whole village thing? This child was raised by so many people that I truly, truly cannot begin to count. People across the city, the state, the country, the world. We did it together and here's just a little of your ROI:

Together we are delivering into the world of adulthood a young man who is, above all, deeply compassionate. Of all the things I could have hoped for, that is at the top of the list. He is also happy, healthy, well-traveled, hilarious, and almost gives skinny jeans a good name. He's a badass guitarist and a puppy worshipper. Little kids dig him. He's had the same job he got when he was 14-- his very first job. He is so loyal. He is so beautiful. Raising him has been the absolute best thing I ever did in my whole life (sorry, Warren-- I know I said it was going on that first date with you...)

If I knew I wouldn't be leaving out folks-- my addled brain can't remember every name of everyone who helped us over the years-- I'd make a list here and thank each of you one-by-one. Let's give thanks for my forgetfulness, because if I could compile such a list, it would be so long the Internet would blow up.

Thank you all. Thanks to those of you who took him on dangerous adventures that I never would have done myself. (And thank you for mostly not telling me the details). Thank you for the lessons, the travel opportunities. Thank you for coming to his shows, his soccer games, and his infamous birthday art auctions. Thank you for helping us when we were very poor. Thank you for all the time and patience and good energy you invested. Thank you for the LOVE!!

OMG y'all-- we truly just stumbled into this town when that child was just ten months old. We had no idea (not consciously) of just what a perfect fit it would be. Austin has been our playground, our homeland, our School of Life. From our first days living at that truly shitty motel-style apartment complex with the big sign out front that looked like a cross between a water theme park entrance sign and a logo for a heavy metal band to our rocking lives in Cherrywood (where we live just blocks apart) and everywhere in between we have had the time of our lives. (Aside: and a shout out to our friends in Knoxville who gave us love and shelter the short period of time we left here.) From Montessori school --where Henry once excitedly told me, "I know why the dinosaurs are extinct, Mom! Because a giant Meat Eater crashed into the planet!!"-- to martial arts training and yoga classes to all of the musical mentoring Henry has received from so many rock greats in this town, we could not have hoped for better educational opportunities.

WOW! I love this day. I love this day SO MUCH! I love it because it is a reminder every year to stop and be truly grateful. And the day before I always reflect on how, late on December 1st, I went into one of the worst labors in the world. And I remember how Henry came very close to dying once he did arrive. And I remember how the NICU nurses and doctors saved his life. Here is our big tradition on this day: I always make my son squirm by suggesting we reenact his birth (though, really, I have stopped actually lying down on the floor when I make the plea). 

One more round of thanks and then I have to go tend to the other tradition-- making a dark chocolate raspberry cake with fresh whipped cream. Parenting-- as I don't have to tell those of you with kids-- is really the most humbling activity in which one can partake. To say I made a few errors along the way is like saying... oh somebody help me here, what's a ridiculous funny analogy? Uh... well it's to say that Springsteen wrote an occasional decent song here and there. The mistakes I made using my patented Error & Error Parenting Technique (TM) could fill many tomes. Along the way so many of you stuck by us, helped me through the first shitty divorce, the second shitty divorce, and many questionable decisions in between. I thank you more than you can ever know.

And most of all, I thank my son for being born. Because along with all of his other fabulous traits, the one I might just be most grateful for is his capacity for forgiveness. He was born an ancient soul, and he came imparted with wisdom I'm still working on attaining: that letting go of shit is a really, really excellent way to live. He has gotten over, past, and through any number of my questionable decisions, he has accepted the apologies I've offered (to the point of telling me I can go ahead and lay off the apologies already, since often they remind him of stuff he long ago forgot), and we have come through it all as very best friends.


No comments: