To the smart, funny, wildly charming, and completely adorable Jakey,
Twenty. Two decades. You bid a fond farewell to the teens as of today, buddy.
But WHAT? Wasn’t it five minutes ago that you were running around our Davis Ave. condo, wildly taking books off the shelves in the hallway, tearing up Emerson Park, giant green eyes with foot long lashes that made people stop me on the street to tell me how adorable you were? Well, wasn’t it? Five minutes ago?
It seems a cosmic mishap that you could be this old, which of course, is really young. but you know what I mean. I just don’t get it. And where is that little version of you? Is he in another part of the world playing Legos? I really loved that little dude. I wish I could see him again.
But I know he’s in you. I see him every so often, when you are charming adults, just like you did when you were a kid. How many of our friends said of you, when you were a little guy, “I wish I could have coffee with Jake.” How many teachers told us they could just teach to you, but they had other kids in the room? You have always been a force of adorable, a meteor of charisma, a dynamic presence.
My love for you is as big as the sun and as powerful as the gosh darn internet. It fills me up, makes me better, stays with me like a shadow. Sometimes I think about how you almost weren’t, about how hard it was for the egg and sperm to do their dance, on account of my faulty insides, And I think how different my life would be, how much less it would be without you. Our connection is deep and big and real. The way we know each other’s thoughts in a glance. The way our minds work. Lucky. I got lucky that things came together in just the right way for me to have you.
To know you. To love you.
You are twenty. And intelligent, and incredible, and ready for everything. Take your time. There is time. Be a force of good. Be a leader. Go boldly, but wisely. Have fun, but be smart. Learn everything there is to learn. It will inform the rest of your life. It will make everyday richer. Take it all in. You are at the start. Be big, stay open, and laugh. Keep laughing.
I am so proud of you, Jake, like billboard-on-Hollywood-Boulevard proud. You’re good inside. You’re my most special thing (you and your sister), my best thing. You can be or do anything you want to do or be. I send you out there with my love embedded inside you, to remember that when you are tired, I can be your battery, that when you doubt yourself, when you mess up, my love will still be there. Right inside your heart.
You are everything. Even more than everything. And you are twenty.
Happy birthday. I am so gratitude-a-thon grateful to be your mom. What a privilege.
Be amazing. Fight on. I love you.