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He said, “No! I want to confront him face to face, he needs to know that he will not treat my baby [half] sister the way he did me!” with such adult anger and rage, that I paused in search of my loving child’s eyes.  I knew he was in there underneath the years of neglect, sadness, pain, and doubt his father had bestowed upon him.  In this new understanding of having a sister (from his dad’s new life), his emotional pendulum was swinging at full tilt.  He was flooded with feeling, navigating the desire to protect her and love her, and the anger and rage felt for his father.

And when I caught his beautiful blue eyes, them locking on mine, he crumbled, his voice failing him and he whispered through the lump in his throat, “I know there is nothing wrong with me mom, but if he does take care of her [the way a father should] I wonder what I did wrong, why he didn’t love me that way?”

Pardon me, while writing this back I am finding myself heartbroken and tearful for my baby, just as it were happening again.

He leaned over and cried in my lap as I stroked his back and ruffled his hair.  Through my own tears, I told him that he was an absolute joy in this world, and the light of my life.  I explained that everyone knows he is an amazing human, and so he should not question his worth, based on the one human who was too immature and irresponsible, lacking in every way in his own life, to take part in the opportunity privilege to be his dad, to know him, to love him.

I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone could walk out of their child’s life.  It just does not compute.  To have the chance every morning to opt in, and just, not.  There is a total failure of humanity in a man (or woman) who could bring life into this world, and then not be near them, there for them for all of their life.  I am not going to compare my parenting here, I will simply say that I miss my boy as soon as he walks out of the room.

So here is this giant, (6’4) young man, facing horrendous adult issues, with the heart of a kind and loving child.  I was originally going to detail his father’s shortcomings, but instead, I will focus on Joseph’s beautiful heart and soul.  He came into this world practically hollerin for a cheeseburger at about nine and a half pounds and a smidge shy of 2 feet long.  I was a baby myself at the time, and he saved me.  He came into my life and heart just 9 days after my 22nd birthday.  At the moment he was laid in my arms, everything else fell away, just like in the movies where people are in a focused bubble and the world around them fades to gray.

He was always complimented as smart, adorable, kind and sweet.  But the comment that resonates with me every time, is how wonderful of a boy, and now, the young man he is.  Like, on his core level, he is a stellar human.  He is a gentleman, with a heart the size of this whole world.  He is the guy that despite the shit-for-a-hand-at-life he has been dealt thus far, he will get out of my car in the pouring rain to help someone else push theirs out of traffic.  He will sit with the unpopular kids because he can’t tolerate bullying.  He asks me every single day when I walk in the door from a long day at work, how my day was.  He volunteers with me, without argument, and outdoes the best of them.  He offers to help anyone and everyone.  He is honest, and brave beyond his years, and he has grasped a lot of life’s most trying curve balls and tossed them back, usually with a witty comeback.

I, of course, could go on for days, and some will say that I am rightfully biased.  But, if you doubt the depth of my words at any time, strike up a conversation with him, you will be glad you did.  He is leaving a legacy in the way he lives, and while I wish I could slow time down, I am so excited for the man he is becoming.  In spite of the absent father, the exposure to abuse and cruelty, being the man of the house before his time, seeing piss poor examples of some of the humans that he’s known, he will defy the odds.  He will be a great husband because he knows what a bad one is like.  He will be kind and gentle because he knows the pain that others have inflicted upon us.  He will be an outstanding father because as he says “that is the only things that will satisfy his life and what his dad has done.  To be a better father than him, will wipe the pain away.”

Yeah, he said that.  Wow, I know!  And he continues daily to amaze me, to bring light to my life and joy to my heart.  He is funny and charismatic, and has a great outlook to overcoming and coping in this life.  If I could give him anything right now, it would be the ability to see who he is, and how he impacts those around him, through my eyes.  He would never again question if he is good enough, or lovable and worthy.  For now, I will continue to support who he is, guide him as long as he’ll let me, kick him in the rear when he needs it, and remind him every day just how awesome he is.

He is my heart and soul, and I have no doubt I was put on this Earth to be his mama.  He was handpicked for me, and while I am not always at my very best, I would give my last breath making sure he is going to be okay in this life.

Okay, okay… sap sap sap.

To Joseph:  Buggy you are my reason, every day before now, and everyday until my end.  You are a valuable, wonderful, patient, gentle, creative, brilliant, loving, kind, generous, helpful, appreciated and honest human.  You keep it up because you are far and away ahead in this game of life.  You will always be my baby boy, but I could not be any more proud of you than I am every single day.  Thank you, for being you.  Keep your head up, and your heart strong.  You know who you are.  (Now go pick the wet towel up in the bathroom…) I love you – Mom

To everyone in my village that has helped him bloom into this rock star:  Thank you.  I cannot put a price on the love and support you have given, I cannot ever repay the debt, and I would never have been able to keep going if it weren’t for y’all.  I am grateful.

 

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See, I do have a heart! When it comes to him anyway!

T

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