Monday, March 14, 2011

An Open Letter to My Son

(I wrote this when our first-born, Rex Bachner Hibbert, turned 30 in June 2005. Who could foresee that within 8 months I would be writing his obituary, after he was shot to death in Virginia Beach where he was a cook at an oceanside restaurant.)

Dear Rex,
Now that you’re 30 (How is that possible? I was only 4 when you were born!) I want to reflect on what you’ve added to our lives.

You made us parents. Before you, we were only a couple. When people asked if we had kids, we would answer, “Yes, we have goats.” Even though you might not recall being raised on goat’s milk, in addition to mother’s milk, you do remember our dairy goat Sassafras and the other does that shared our tiny paddock.

You taught us about fear, real bone-dissolving, gut-wrenching fear, the first time when you were 2 months old and managed to flip your “punkin seat” carrier and you onto the floor, even though I was standing only inches away at the kitchen counter next to you.

You gave me courage, too, even when I didn’t have much. When I drove on slippery, snowy roads, I had to pretend there was nothing to it. After all, you were strapped into your car seat in the back, and you expected me to keep you safe.

And you taught me patience. Sometimes in the afternoons when you were in elementary school and you were on my last nerve by doing something I had specifically told you not to do, I wanted to slap you silly – but, of course, I didn’t.

I learned from you one of the hardest lessons a parent has to learn, how to step back and let you make your own mistakes. When you dropped most of the college-bound friends you’d had since you were 2 and took up with boys we considered underachievers, I was so worried you would quit high school and father a child or two like some of them did.

You taught me faith when you were the proverbial “angry young man” who, like most teens, valued his friends’ advice more than what your mother said.

I learned to hang on to the belief if I kept on loving you through the tough times and the lines of communication open, you would come back to me.

Even though you tried your wings as far away as California and and Massachusetts, you returned. Now there is a young woman by your side as you prepare to move to the other side of Virginia.

As you turn 30, I look at the 6-foot-3-inch young man who has ideas of what he wants to do, and I smile, my first baby. You’ve become quite a man.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful letter Meg. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your son got to read this letter before his passing.
    This blog post makes me cry, as it should make most any parent, especially a mother, cry.
    Thank you for a reminder to pick up my boys and hug them extra tight.