Thursday, November 4, 2010


I had started going to see Berenice, mostly out of respect for my mother and grandmother. She was important to them. I knew they would want me to and I would do my best to honor them. At first, we just sat and talked about this and that. On one of our many visits I was telling her about the stuff I had that belonged to members of the family, bits and pieces of history belonging to people I would never know. I proudly listed the things I had that had even belonged to her hoping to flatter and impress.
Her eyes locked with mine and she asked pointedly, "Why?"
She caught me a little off guard I asked "What do you mean?"
Never shifting her gaze, she asked again "Why do you hold onto all that stuff?"
"Because they were gifts, pieces of people's lives, it's holding what they held, it's a connection to the past," I tried to explain.
"Hmph!" she replied. "It's just junk!"
I was mortified and confused. "But it's history!" I protested. "They are heirlooms, family heirlooms, treasures!"
Much of what I had accumulated I had acquired from my mother. I have a piece of linen woven my great great-grandmother, a crystal necklace and table belonging to my great-grandmother. There are dishes made in 'occupied' Japan, linen table cloths and fancy tableware. There are the crystal dishes that we used for every holiday get together, a lamp my grandmother carried home in the snow when she was pregnant with my uncle, the area rug from the house on Winchester and a trunk full of photos. Some of the most precious of my mother's artifacts belonged to Berenice and her parents. With each artifact, my mother reverently told stories about the times and the people they belonged to.
"It's just stuff," she repeated, this time more emphatically. "You need to get rid of it. You need to let it go." Her gaze never waived. She was making her point.
Our conversation drifted to other things but her words weighed heavily. As we chatted my mind drifted. Berenice's family saved my mother from an extremely abusive situation. They provided sanctuary, much as they had done for my grandmother and my great-grandmother before her. They showed her there was another way that life could be different. She learned how to prepare a gourmet meal, set an elegant table of china, linen, and crystal, to appreciate opera and the theater, and create a beautiful living space (all on a shoe string budget, of course!) They gave her a place to live so she could work and attend the local junior college. Most importantly, they gave her permission to dream. They saved her sanity, saved her soul.
It suddenly dawned on me why my brother is named for Berenice's father and I for her. Ginger was actually her nickname. As the last of my elders she was something for me to cling to, a connection to my mother, my grandmother. Her stories about them helped me understand myself, my situation, my life better. She in many ways was saving me in much the same way she and her family saved my mother so many years before.
Later as I left, it hit me. I finally understood. True heirlooms are not 'things'. They are the intangibles. They are the gifts of self that are passed, that make the life of another better, that give meaning, give direction and more importantly, hope.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Universe Within …

(Inspired by the Bodies Exhibition)

Stripped away
A universe within…
Fibers and strings
Loofaed blood flows
In a delicate dance
Of time…
Big Bang
Universes within Universes
Galaxies conceived
in fetal form
Star systems
Struggling to be born…

Lifetimes lived
Like all things
Decay and die
In disease twisted
Blackened death
Only to be born again
Part of the process
Of greater design
The greatness of mind
In the presence
Of God
Made even greater
By the sum
of its parts.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I believed in fairytales. After all, I was raised on them in Disney technicolor. Cinderella and Snow White, were my favorites. I loved the idea that love conquered all, goodness and truth always won in the end. I loved in unicorns and magic, believed in crystals and psychic connections that transcend time and space, transcended eternity. I believed in the goodness of people and that that belief would always bring out the best in them. I believed my own life was a fairytale. Grant you there were difficult times, but my outlook was always governed by the fact that I had found my true love, my soul mate, the one and that together, everything would be alright. I believed!!
Funny what belief can do. If you believe, it is real, at least, in your own mind. Unfortunately, there is the rest of the world, or at least other people, and sometimes they don't always see it way you do. As it turned out, I was Sleeping Beauty. But instead of a prince's gentle kiss, I was awakened by my fairytale crashing in on me. I woke alone to a devastated landscape of lies and deception, impaled by my hopes and dreams. My world wasn't what I had believed it to be. It was an illusion.
I no longer believe in fairytales. They are simply fantasy, a superficial matrix of illusions keeping us from facing our own Truth; hiding our way forward. As a child, I often sought refuge in such stories, at first as a way to deal with my loneliness and isolation, then as a way of dealing with the painful reality of my parent's breakup. They gave me something to believe in, to hope for, a possibility more hopeful than the one in which I actually lived. If I believed, truly believed, things would be different, all would be well. But in the end, after all, we are only human. There are no knights in shining armor.
I mourn the loss of innocence, and yet, although I often find myself guarded and jaded, deep inside a kernel of what was still exists longing to believe. As I struggle to pick up the pieces, I am learning to live again, this time for real. It is a time for Lifetales in all their richness and depth, substance, and uncertainty. In the end, the world is what it is and perhaps therein lies the magic; the magic in actually living, enjoying the company of friends who are actually there, people who love and accept you, enjoying the cool sweetness of a beautiful garden at sunrise, the goofy laughter of a bunch of kids, seeing your son become a man. It's the magic, not in unicorns and love ever-after, but the simple joys of life. It may not be perfect, but it is real.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

For Kellee

Life is so fleeting and at the same time complicated and chaotic, distracting and hurried; all about drama and the big picture. But sometimes, it is those lives, so unassuming, who pass through gracing us with a warmth and gentleness reminding us of something greater. Gentle souls impact so many, ever so briefly, touching something deep inside, our better selves. A touch as slight as a butterfly's wings, taken for granted until no longer there. And yet once gone, the impact remains, lives touched forever changed, as a baby's breath upon our cheek.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Mother’s Heart

Once upon a time a king in a faraway kingdom was sponsoring a competition of the hand of the princess. One young man, not content to be a peasant and a farmer for the rest of his life saw this as an opportunity to escape his station. He went deep into the forest to seek the aide of a local witch. He explained how badly he wanted to marry the princess and wanted to know if she could help him. She listened patiently. When he was finished, she began to speak.

"I can make this happen for you," she said. "You will, indeed gain the Princess' hand in marriage, but I need something from you first."

The young man was visibly excited by his good fortune and eagerly agreed to do whatever the crone asked him to do.

"You must bring me your mother's heart. Place it in this box and bring it back to me."

The young man barely gave it a second thought. He was going to marry the Princess!! He ran all the way home where his mother was waiting for him by the fire. She listened carefully to what he had to say. She quietly asked him if this is really what he wanted, what would make him happy.

"More than anything," he said

She sighed and handed him a knife. Without hesitation, he cut out her heart and placed it in the box. Without looking back, he was racing back through the forest to the waiting witch. As he ran, a raised root sent him and the box sprawling, spilling the still beating heart onto the path. The young man was frantic. As he collected himself, the mother's heart asked "are you alright, my son?"


My mother told me this story growing up. She said it was a Lithuanian folk tale told to her by her grandmother. It was one of her favorites. As a daughter, I could not relate to this story at all! Not even in the least!! All I could think about was the betrayal and the selfishness of the son. How could he do that???? My mother calmly said I was missed the point.

"How?" I asked. "The guy is a jerk!!"

"It's not about him!" she insisted. "It's about a mother's love and what she is willing to go through and sacrifice for her child."

I was still not impressed. The guy was still a jerk!!

It was many years later, years after my own mother's passing and a mother in my own right, that I finally began to understand what she meant and what she was trying to tell me. I was going through my divorce agonizing over what to do, how much to fight, especially when my own child made it clear he did not wish to live with me. As my heart ached, and yes, felt as if it was being cut out, all I could think about was what would be best for him and make him happy and still 'protect' him. I was willing to sacrifice any and everything to make that happen. As I was trying to figure out what to do, it hit me!!


My mom was right!!!

Regardless, I still think that guy was a jerk!!!

God, I hate that story!!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


The promise of tomorrow...
The dream of yesterday...
The moment
our only reality...
It's magic touched
only briefly
Like a Kiss
Changes us forever...


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Of Bread and Wine

What's in a meal,
the breaking
of bread...
More than
more than
in the morsel
A gift of self
carefully prepared
Nurtured connections
in unity
in peace
in Life...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Male Bonding

Joyous laughter
raucous and rich
shared around stories
of experience
and acknowleged foolishness
in youthful mistakes...
Lessons deep
within the telling...
The passing of
between generations
of men
(and men to be...)
Timeless wisdom
buried deep in
oral tradition...
Connections and
nurtured bonds
binding them
as men...

Monday, May 17, 2010


Find purpose
Persuasive Own
Process Decide
Rough Mold
Hammer Shape
Hammer Shape
Inspect & Check
Turn Around
and Around
Fresh Eyes
What do you think?
What does it need?
Hammer Shape
Smooth edges
Hammer Shape
Hammer Shape
Polished Gleam
Finished Shine

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Momma Goddess: a Redo

She Wolf
Momma Goddess
Hair on fire
Eyes narrowed
Dark as coals

Hissing through gritted teeth
Ears flattened like an angry cat
The earth moved
Dark and ominous

Impending storm
the room filled with her presence....
"I'm gonna make
a man out of you if it kills me"
Pinned against a wall
my brother's burgeoning
manhood melted,
puddled on the floor...
Then the wind shifted
the sound of the last 'n' taking
a distinctively higher pitch....
Now I was in trouble
Should have kept my mouth shut...
I saw my life pass
before my eyes....
Duck and cover
Too late

backhand already in motion....

But when the fury
of the tempest past
and the darkness receded
Brown eyes smiled
warmth and safety and light
Sanctuary in a hostile world...
The laughter, the joy
the acceptance
A belief in a better you..
chameleon molded to her children's needs
children she didn't really understand
but really did...
She was candles
and gentle rains
the smell of dinner in an empty house
Flash Gordon and Godzilla
on a Saturday afternoon...
Larger than life
ever present presence
Ever watching
Even now
Even more
that she's gone
Forever immortal
Forever in us

Goddess ...


Friday, May 7, 2010

On Writing....

"There are no truths,

only stories...."

Acoma Saying

Like most things in life, writing is a journey and a process, not only for the writer, but for the reader as well. It is an essential form of communication and expression. On a much deeper level, writing is a means of organizing thought when navigating a would barraged by sensory overloads in all forms; whole and fragmented, relevant and frivolous. By shaping thought, writing offers a way to master life's chaos, and ultimately provide a means of self-discovery and voice. Writing is a very powerful experience that allows us to make sense of our lives and experiences, ultimately providing insight into us all as human beings. It can be quite empowering.

As for me, I am a wordsmith, sometimes poet and forever storyteller. I have always been facinated by people's stories. Glimpses into the lives of another at an given moment in time provide meaning, purpose and ultimately immortality. It is the connections we develop with others, and ultimately within ourselves is where true wealth resides. The written word helps us reach through the temporal veil of time and space and touch the lives of those we may never know...


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mother Goddess....

Hair on fire...
narrow slitted eyes
dark as coals...
Ears drawn back,
flattened like an angry cat
hissing through gritted teeth...
The earth moved
I was in trouble...
Dark and ominous
like an impending storm.
The room filled with her presence...
The sound of the last 'N' taking
a distinctivly higher pitch...
and my life would pass before my eyes.
But when the fury of the tempest passed
and the darkness receded,
Brown eyes smiled warmth and safety...
Sanctuary in a hostile world
the laughter and joy
in the silly things
and belief in a better you
Warm and nurturing
She was also candles and gentle rains
the smell of dinner in an empty house
She, a fashion queen
her daughter in cowboy boots
A child she didn't understand,
but really did...
Cameleon molded
to her children's needs
Larger than life, ever present,
Ever watching...
Shaper, molder of character
and being
even now, even more,
that she's gone.

I was raised by a Goddess...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Words are Watercolors

Words can be a lot of things, communication, symbolic code for things unseen, or even something to simply tune out. But for me, words are watercolors, delicate dabs on paper, each nuanced in hue and tone; combining the texture of thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas; different choices, different textures, muted or solid, shadowed or bold in the mind of another. Imagery painted into structured form, watercolors coded into text.... text, like digital rain sequences cascading in our minds create meaning and color our lives. A simple sunrise suddenly becomes a raspberry hued dawn gently caressing the up raised faces of those she embraces... Words, indeed the written word, reaches through the vale of time and space with a magical quality. When skillfully blended, words conjure an alternate view of the mundane, making the ordinary, extra-ordinary...

Hungry Minds

Frustrated Youth
A wealth of Universe
In their minds
Open and Expansive
The space within
Cluttered and congested
with useless stimuli
No room to Fly
No room to Soar...
Souls weighted into
useless submission
of apathy...
The joy of breathing free
beyond their grasp
Reach them
Lift them
Peel away the trash...
Heal the brokeness
and set them free...
Needing direction
'Please teacher,
Teach me....'

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sushi Girls....

It was an evening of laughter, plum wine and sushi. It had been weeks in the making, emails flying back and forth confirming and reconfirming attendence and the occasional scare tactic to unnerve the newbie. I hadn't really eaten sushi before, so they delighted in taunting me with eel and fish heads. Undaunted, this was a new adventure for me and so we laughed, we talked and experimented with new textures and flavors under the gentle care of my compadres.

We all mused over how the years have brought us all together. Although all of us went to the same Junior High and High Schools, we really didn't know each other. Some of us were in classes together, even knew each other's names, but we floated in very different social circles. The first of us came together at the 20 year reunion. However, it was the 30 year reunion that acted as the catalyst that brought us all together. It was the first time we all really sat, talked and got to know each other.

Much has happened to each of us over the years, a life time in fact, or hopes and dreams, trials and tribulations, each of us shaped and weathered by an ocean of life experiences. Ironically, we have never really been far from one other and now life has brought us back together again bonding us in ways that cannot be explained.

Unfortunately, not all of us could be there that night, but there will be more sushi and tequila nights. All of us know that even if one of us is unable to attend for whatever reason, we will all be there in spirit. We have become more than friends, we have become sisters.

In the Company of Women...

Women in my family have always played a major role in my life, shaping my sense of self and identity, fluttering around like ancient midwives ushering me through life's passage. They were my foundation, the earth that anchored me in place and in the blink of an eye, they were all gone, first my mother, then my aunt, and finally, my grandmother. To me, they were the embodiment of the Triple Goddess, Mother, Nymph and Crone, and without them, I was lost, uprooted, unconnected, alone.

The Universe has a funny way of taking care of its own. Out of nowhere, a forest of women rose to take their place; older ones to share their wisdom, contemporaries to nurture, and younger to renew an enthusiam for life. In their capable hands, I have now been ushered into a new phase of life. Where once uprooted and thrown asunder, my roots have reconnected with the earth and new growth, tender and green, reaches for the warmth of the sun and the sky's infinite possibilities. It is the cycle of nature, out of death comes rebirth, and I am born again. The Goddess is strong. Her presence surrounds and comforts me, forever, in the company of women...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As I walked through the campus, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of nostalgia and angst. It had been many many years since I had just simply wandered the campus on which I had spent so much of my young adulthood. I felt caught between worlds, between eras and times. It was all so different. I tried to look for what was familiar in the midst of all that was new. Buried behind all the new buildings and landscapes was my past, glimpses of the familiar in the midst of so much that wasn't; forgotten reminants of a life so long ago. As I walked along beautifully sculpted walkways, melancholy began to creep beside me. I was out of place, out of time. All around the new totally obscured the past leaving nothing but ghosts of memories and times that once were, and now forgotten. The new had obscured a part of my life that was a simpler less complicated, a period of innocence and wonder, a time full of hope and possibilities. I sighed heavily and suddenly felt obselete. I thought to myself "Maybe I should just get a coffee."

As I quietly entered the unfamiliar space of the snack shop, resignation weighed upon my soul. I wandered about, got my coffee and got ready to just move on. As I stepped up to pay for my purchase, the cashier was staring at me. I smiled and met her eyes. There was something familiar. Tentatively she asked, "didn't you go here?" She caught herself, "you just look... familiar."

I looked at her again, this time our eyes really connected and the vale of time melted away, almost 30 years worth. I was an undergrad at the time, a relatively shy teenager who often kept to herself. Lilly worked in the old Student Union the other end of campus. In midst of all the newness and waves of students she must have negotiated all those years, she remembered me. In one simple moment, the past had reached out comforted and validated me in a way I could never really explain except that she remembered me...

Saturday, February 6, 2010


It really started as just little things said here and there over the years. He didn't like my perfume, so he picked out a new one for me, encouraged me to change my hair color. He took me clothes shopping and picked out clothes for me. I was flattered. He was interested in me. I thought it meant he cared, that I could do better.

As time went on he complained about my music, he didn't like my choice of restaurant, renamed my dog. In the end, he didn't like much of anything, unless it was something he chose. Of course, when he 'fixed it', I was grateful. It was all so subtle. They were insignificant little incidents spread over a 20 year period. All too often, he was simply dismissive and uninterested. I was invisible. The most frustrating part is that I didn't even realize it was happening.

An accumulation of little things untended become an avalanche.

One day he said "you just won't change, I have finally come to accept that." Two days later, he and twenty years of my life, were gone. Luckily, there is with every ending, a new beginning.

Through much reflection, I have come to realize the process of becoming invisible began many, many years before. It began as a pre-adolescent trying to be perfect, but never quite good enough. I now understand, I chose him because he was a mirror, a manifestation of my self image, my own reflection. He was my insecurities made manifest.

I always swore my life would be different. But in the end, I am more like my mother, my grandmother and great- grandmother than I could have ever anticipated. They, too, were invisible. Each one now part of a series of funhoused mirror images, one within another, going back for generations looking back at me. It is a stream of consciousness, a thread that binds us, offering a greater understanding of not only myself, but of them as well. Maybe, in the long run, that is enough to change the future, break the cycle and free us all from our mirrored prisons ...

The Spinner Weaves
The Weaver Spins
and Laima Dreams

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Stories Told...

Ever since I was a little girl, my sense of self and identity has been shaped by the women in my family, living and dead, good and bad. Each on has a story of survival and overcoming the odds and the dream of making better for those that follow. Of all the women, my mother was the most influential. In a sense she was a composite of all who had preceded her. The voices of generations were vocalized through her - she was the keeper of the tales, and now that honor has been passed on to me. Momma always said as long as we tell their stories they will never die - immortality is in the remembering....

Loved ones
never gone
Forever alive
thru those
left behind...
By stories told
made immortal...


and memories
floating around
the edges of
the mind...
When collected
and pieced together
become the
that is our

Friday, January 29, 2010

There is a
carried in the
Joyful quietness
in watching
grass grow...
Finding tranquility
in the space
of one's own

Monday, January 25, 2010

Revolution Whispers

Where to begin
to change the world?
So much
beyond our control,
in size and scope
and yet...
The simplest answers
often reside
in the simplest places...
Taken for granted,
invisible in plain sight
A single step
all that is needed
to begin...

Change the self
change the world...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Rains...

I so love rainy days. Maybe it's because I live in a desert and they come so few and far between, but there is something elemental about rainy days, especially in winter. Unlike summer rains, it isn't so much about being surrounded by it, as being insulated in it. It's about being cocooned in the warmth of a comforter and candle light as if snuggled in the arms of one who loves you. It's about being surrounded in gentle waves of liquid kisses and the steady rhythm of sweet release cascading nature's endorphins through the subconscious to a place where nothing else exists, a deep and peaceful slumber.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


What's in a look
What's in a word

a random meeting
unlikely connections
of common

in worlds apart
coming together

Friday, January 15, 2010


Home is not so much about a place, but about relationships, the people around the hearth, around its heart. For me, home was a sanctuary from the outside world, a place of safety. Home was a place of warmth and nurturing smells like Italian sausage sandwiches on rainy days, radio theater and candles when the lights went out, and broiled chicken wings and Godzilla's tinny roars on a Saturday afternoon. Home was cuddled crock pot warmth emanating its richness to fill the emptiness of a wounded latch-key heart; a sincere attempt to soften a broken home's lonely reality. The comforting smell of food connected us beyond barriers of time and space. She wanted us to feel her presence, her warmth, her safety even if she wasn't there. She was sunlit beams streaming across the floor, warming us like outstretched cats, filling us with the light and goodness that was her. Home wasn't a place. Home was my mother...

When she died, the house that was once home became nothing more than a shell, an empty facsimile of the life it had once been; no more warmth, no more smells. Evidence that was her life faded away as the house was emptied and prepared for sale. It only became real when the child before me began to cry... "It doesn't smell like Grandma anymore..." He felt it too, and yet....

We shut the door one last time and went home. Even though she is gone, I still find warm comfort in the smell of a simmering crock pot, sausage sandwiches on rainy days, chicken wings and Godzilla movies on a Saturday afternoon. To this day, when sunbeams stretch across the room and warm my face, I feel my mother's touch and no matter where I am, I'm home. I sometimes wonder what my son will remember when I am gone. Whatever it is, I hope it's home....

Friday, January 8, 2010

An Afternoon by the Water...

Liquid movement
of the mind
Streams of thought
carried through time
our primordial past
just to exist
to simply be
Connect to self
Identity discovered
in the rustling leaves...
Breezes kiss
the Creators mind
in search
of stillness
Whole again.....
and Freedom
lie in seeing
The Middle Way...
a path
less traveled
in a world
of Extremes...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coming Home....

Life is full of ironies, most of which you don't really catch until you take a step back. Sometimes, the message is in the big picture. My life has changed so much over the last couple of years. I was a daughter, a granddaughter, a wife, a mother, and asundry other roles to varied to mention. Now, all of my elders are gone, my son is grown, and I am single again. I am left to ponder my life, past, present, and future.

When I was young, my focus was always about moving forward; finish school, get a career, get married, start a family. At the same time, I had time to explore myself, be myself. I liked to write. I was a freelance journalist for a while. I liked to workout. I was in a body building contest. I was even a Guardian Angel. Everything was an adventure. I wanted to change the world. I was relatively confident and self-sufficient. I had dreams. Life was challenging, but good.

Somewhere along the way, I lost something. I am still trying to figure out how it happened... I sublimated who I was to meet the needs of those around me, my students, co-workers, family members, and especially those of my husband and son. Things I wanted to do, things I loved, things that made me me, took a back seat and were scheduled around what everyone else was doing and their expectations. Now I am single again, on my own with no obligations, no purpose . I suddenly realized I have no idea what I want to do. I didn't know how redefine myself, my life.

Oddly enough, the Universe has a way of bringing you around to what you need to learn. Maybe that is the greaatest irony of all. It is almost as if the Source must be revisited before you can move on. People from my past have been cropping up left and right; high school classmates, former lovers and friends. They've reminded me of who I was before the roles and expectations took over. The feeling is familiar yet, strange, comforting and awkward at the same time. I am a kid again only better, just older and hopefully a little wiser. It seems I don't have to redefine myself after all. I just have to go back to being who I always was. I just have to come home.

The Spinner weaves
The Weaver Spins
And Laima Dreams

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Laima's Dream...

Goddess of fate
Spinning thread
In rythmic cadence
on a wheel
Threads to
the web of life
in strands
of consciousness
connected by
Fragile fibers
of destinies
into what is
meant to be...
in Words
now spun
as Stories
now woven
into the tapestry
of Laima's Dream....

According to Lithuanian mythology, Laima is the eternal spinner, weaving into the tapestry of life patterns of existence, destiny and fate. She is the beginning. We are connected to her by threads of consciousness woven and spun throughout the ages. My Great-Great Grandmother sat before a spinning wheel, as did generations before her, binding threads woven into a piece of cloth. It, like her dreams, were passed down generation after generation, mother to daughter, to me. It is the spinners that bind the family and hold it together. The connection is deep, almost primal. In learning about Laima, I better understand the women who shaped my life and ultimately myself. She is our mother, and we, her daughters.....

The Spinner weaves
The Weaver spins
and Laima dreams.....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lucky Charm

A boyish smile
An impish grin
Joyous laughter
An anchor
To save my life
From setting adrift
In times of dispair
Amidst the Chaos
Of pandora's box
Of things to come
My heart...
My soul...
My Son...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Meaning of Life...

He was once the butterflies I felt in my womb, the tiniest flutterings of life announcing his presence. Today he stands before me on the brink of manhood. Suddenly, I am humbled.

Parenthood is a crapshoot at best. Who knows how it will turn out. The best you can hope for is a whole happy, healthy human being. When I first heard his heart beat, I remember thinking what an awesome responsibility this was going to be, that every decision I made would impact this life forming within me for at least the next 18 years. It wasn't about me anymore.

From the moment he was conceived, he touched something in me. He brought out the very best in me. I wanted to do right by this beautiful little boy. More than anything, I wanted him to know he was loved and valued, that I would be there for him. It was all I knew how to do. I prayed it was enough.

As I look at the young man standing before me, I am amazed. He is everything, I hoped he would be. For the life of me, I am not sure how it happened. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. It is just who he is. The one thing I do know is I have enjoyed every single moment with him, every stage of his life. He taught me what was important and filled me with a sense of joy and purpose I never thought possible, and for that, I am eternally grateful, eternally blessed.

Now the time has come to let him go, to find his own way in the world. As he takes his first steps into manhood, I am overwhelmed by the realization that I don't just enjoy spending time with my son because he is my son, but because I enjoy him as a person, as an adult, as a man.