It was unmistakable.
I noticed it in between the Garland Street Garage and the Union.
You walked different. Literally.
More upright. More focused. Looking ahead.
Visible confidence. That almost took my breath away.
You were home.
As we all moved forward, my mind was in reverse.
That Tuesday afternoon at St. Luke’s when we first met, that very pink room on Foxtrot Drive where we used to read stories, that spot in the Gunpowder River where you owned your faith, and now Maple East in Fayetteville… my thought bubble’s been really crowded this weekend.
Your life lies ahead.
There are only a few times that can be said and it not be an overstatement. This is one of them.
Your dreams, your motivation, your effort, and your decisions. Your time has come.
Do we still matter? Of course. But not as much as you.
If that feels heavy, that’s because it is. But you’ve got roots, and convictions, and commitments that match the weight.
If you make mistakes (and you will because you’re related to me), get up.
It’s not over.
Learn and go again.
The long game is what matters most.
And remember, you’ve got us, whenever.
Nothing will stop us from loving you. Nothing. Ever.
Read the sentence two lines up again.
The hands that are letting go can still applaud.
And they will.
You’ll hear it. A Baltimore echo. All the way in Arkansas.
And they still point.
But now, differently. Instructions are yielding to advice.
It’s available when you want it.
As I’m writing, we’re seventy miles away from the University.
Mom’s driving so I can finish this. Seventy-one.
It’s time for you to start.
Love everybody else.
And walk tall.
You’ve got this.
I love you, M.