dear darling Ben–
We missed you at our annual Valentine making party this year. Because really, no one crafts Valentines quite like you.
On your birth day, twenty one years ago, someone said to me, “Oh February 14th is a terrible day to have a baby, you’ll never be able to go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day.” I remember thinking they were crazy; who’d choose a fancy dinner over a baby boy?
And time has proven me right. Your candy filled, love note scrawled, heart-shaped pink and red birthday set the theme for our family. We are all about sweet notes, declarations of love, hugs and kisses, candy tucked under your pillow. When you were a baby, my brother laughed at me, saying, “Every time Ben does something naughty you just pick him up, kiss him and say ‘I love you Ben.'”
I said those words over and over and over. And I’m glad to think I did something right because I made all kinds of other mistakes. Your dad and I were clueless. Still, you were raised on massive doses of love (not to mention candy hearts) and those hugs and kisses made up for a lot.
You’ve always been the kid to tell me when I’m messing up. And I appreciate your honesty. You let me know when I was going spending too much time with friends and too little time with you, you scolded me when I yelled at your siblings, you advised me to get out of the small business world and back into your world, you warned me of the rampant spread of pornography and helped me set up rules to keep everyone safe. And sometimes, often, I expected too much of you, but you’ve told me over and over– “Stay firm with the little kids; raise them the way you raised me.” And I do, but I also laugh a lot more (because you taught me to) and I’ve learned what’s worth worrying about and what isn’t.
Honestly, I’ve learned more from you than any other person on the planet. You made me a mother; and nothing has made me happier.
I didn’t see you at 20– not for a single day. But your letters spanned the miles and we know your heart. You’ve grown so much, but I promise you don’t ever have to grow up completely— your dad and I never did. I hope you’ll always make silly jokes, dance in the kitchen, read Calvin & Hobbes
and of course, laugh like crazy when we go doorbell ditching every Valentine’s Day.
‘Cause that’s what we’ll be doing.
Happy Birthday my darling, beautiful, wonderful boy!
Love and kisses, Mom