20 years ago when you were just 5, you spent the summer going to camp, making friends and visiting new and exciting places. Each day you came home a little tanner with a few more blonde streaks of hair mixed in with your warm chestnut brown strands.
You loved it, every minute of it.
You told stories of the fun games you played, of the silly jokes you learned and the names of friends you made throughout the week. Never did you come home exclaiming you didn’t want to go back. Never did I hear a discouraging word about the activities or the field trips.
Honestly, I didn’t hear much of anything because you’d fall asleep on the way home out of exhaustion from playing so hard.
Your favorite day was Friday, when you got to dress up in a theme for the week. Crazy hat day and dress like a pirate day (which you won for best dressed pirate), pajama day and Hawaiian shirt day.
Every Friday you’d wake in excitement to dress up, put on your best outfit to match the theme and you’d proudly walk in, displaying with all your might the gem of all themed outfits.
You were never nervous or anxious and you ALWAYS dressed up. Never did a Friday go by that summer that you didn’t go into camp in full dress to match the theme.
Your enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself wrapped up in the joy of helping you concoct the best outfits. I even took to my sewing machine to make you an item or two.
Then came Super Hero Day.
You wanted a cape. I had a sewing machine. So the obvious choice was to make one.
And make one I did. Out of lime green sateen and golden thread. Perfect for any crime fighter…
Well any crime fighter except you.
In your little mind, you saw yourself in a flowing cape draped seamlessly off of your back, like Superman or Batman. What you didn’t envision was this.
Now these pictures were in the middle of production, Jake, so there was some hemming to be done. But from the look on your face, my sweet son, you can tell you aren’t all that pleased.
You fidgeted, squirmed and complained as I tried it on you. The green flowing cape I worked diligently on for over 2 hours just to get the construction of the piece done seemed to displease you.
You are very much my child. We like to get an idea in our heads of what exactly we want and if that doesn’t happen, we find ourselves disappointed.
Ask me, sometime, about the many hair cuts I’ve walked away from crying for this exact reason.
Jacob, my son. I loved your enthusiasm for pretend and make-believe. I loved that you could walk into a situation and within moments felt comfortable, even if you were wearing a costume or silly hat. You had the imagination that I was blessed with growing up and through you, I got to relive those days of make-believe and playing pretend.
I know this cape wasn’t what you wanted at the time. But I hope, as you read this in your mid-twenties, a grown man in the midst of discovering yourself and making your own path in this world, that you know how much I love you. How much I loved you as a little boy, too. I hope you can see the effort and time put into cultivating your big personality. Finding it and giving it a home to grow and become everything it was meant to be.
I was not a perfect mom and nor will I ever be. But I tried. I tried with the biggest intentions of making your dreams a reality. And sometimes I hit the mark. And sometimes I missed.
I love you, my son and I always will.