My Dear August,
If not for old photographs, I might have a hard time believing you were ever a pudgy baby, or pacifier chewing toddler, or husky boy. My baby is gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in the foot taller than me man you have grown into. We read the same books and you have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in your opinion of them, you can tell me a vulgar joke that makes me laugh until I pee a little. You need razor blades, shower gel and privacy, and yet it does seem like yesterday when you would waddle into my bedroom and sing, “Eyes and ears and knees and toes, knees and toes..” It had been my privilege and honor to share every day with you, every game, teachers visit, performance and award presentation.
Regrets? A few. I wish I would have gotten mad less but then I would never have heard you say, “Calm your crazy ass down!” Which, as you know, makes me howl with laughter.
Victories? A few. You know how to dance and to play gold fish. You know that our attempt to understand or define God is not only ridiculous, but ego-centered. You know there is a space, a place, beyond our five senses that Christians call heaven and hell; Buddhists and Hindus call it interval between lifetimes; and Aboriginal people call it the unseen world. Your faith in what lies beyond your five senses is being replaced by the experience of it.
You have your own agenda, you have for years. It’s not my agenda, not what I would choose, but you have more courage than I do. You don’t allow someone’s else’s fear based version of life interfere with yours. My respect for you escalates. You are going to be all right.
I hope you go where there is laughter and romance, and walk the streets of Bombay and lean out of Paris windows to touch falling January snow and swim in the seas off Bora Bora and make love in Veneto, Italy at the Gritti Palace Hotel.
I hope you play blackjack all night in the Barbary Coast and, money ahead, watch the sun come up in Vegas. I hope you ride big planes out of Africa and Jakarta and feel what it’s like to turn home just ahead of winter.
As your childhood comes to an end, it seems my work with you is complete, or you with me, since it was you raising me these past 18 years. Go well, James August, my son. Go knowing that Barry, Sam and I will be here, setting you a place at the table for one of our family dinners, and fat Bella will be laying in front of the kitchen door, waiting for you to return, as we all will be.
All my love,