My much loved friend in Arizona has four children, the eldest (a boy) is exactly two months younger than Thing 1 I’ve known him since he was four. The second born (a girl) chose me to be her Godmother when she was about eight years old, I’ve know her since she was two. She’s about eighteen months older than Thing 2. The third, (another girl) was born when Thing 2 was in my friend’s two year old preschool class. I taught the baby of the family, (a second boy, who is now thirteen) for two years in a row between the ages of one and three.
I love this family as though they were my own. My own children consider these children an integral part of their family life.
Earlier this week, a simple facebook conversation with the eldest boy that started as comments and replies on a photo of his parents moved me to tears.
Him: I can’t wait to see you pretty lady!!! You’re getting hitched, and I get to be a part of it. I am so honored and unbelievably excited for you 🙂 Can’t wait to meet the family!
Me: My heart is near bursting that you’ll be here! I love you!
Him: I love you too! You’ll always be a big influence in my life as to who I am and how I must be myself, love myself and be happy to go my own way. I see this in you and it is a true inspiration to where I hope to be one day.
This young man went through terrible emotional struggles his second year of college. He was deeply confused, depressed, and on the edge of hurting himself. His Dad went across the country to support and love his son. This time was sacred for them and because of this time, he was able to build up the courage to safely come out as gay.
We all could see that him saying it out loud changed everything for him. He was at peace with himself. He was as content and carefree as he’d been as a little boy. Our joy was huge. His own joy was too.
And then he met a really wonderful young man. They are such a precious couple! They compliment each other beautifully, bringing out the best in each other. I’ve not seen this boy I helped raise this healthy and peaceful since he was about ten years old.
I say all of this because I want to explain the magnitude of his words. I am truly humbled. This is a child I loved because he was one of my brood. I loved him as my own. For him to share this with me was overwhelming.
To know that my actions have made that kind of impact was so powerful!
It took me thirty-odd years to learn to “must be myself, love myself and be happy to go my own way”. To make the choice to get out of what was categorically, the least healthy situation I’d ever been in. I trusted myself for the first time in my life and loved myself enough to go my own way. It was the most difficult and scary situation I’d ever experienced. It changed nearly every relationship in my life. And I was stronger than I’d ever been.
Never did I feel like a role model. Never did I feel like a positive example. I was afraid every single day. I never stopped looking over my shoulder. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other because I knew if I didn’t the last little spark inside of me would go out.
But the spark grew into the long lost fire in my belly and fueled my independence. Fueled my confidence. Fueled my ability to love and be loved.
I love this young man ever so dearly. I wish him all the success of love and life without too much of the struggle.
To know that I’ve been inspiration to him is almost more than I can even bear.
My heart is overflowing.
We all deserve to feel this much love and gratitude.