My beautiful son
Happy 17th Birthday
I’ve been thinking a lot lately of little Raphael, specifically the 2 year old version with the fly-away fluffy hair and delightful laugh, so filled with joy and freedom and love and life. Too young yet to have any fears of anything – even dogs. Amazed by everything around you.
And then I look at you today. See you waiting at the station in your blazer. Striding down Kalk Bay in your carefully put together clothes. Talking to M with your eyes shining. Laughing with your friends. Telling me stories about your day. Rapping along to weird songs and making me laugh.
And yes, also sometimes looking so young, so scared, battling demons I wish you didn’t have to. But also not giving in to them.
And I know that even in those moments of terror (that hopefully are behind you now, at least for a long time) deep inside that blonde, free, laughing boy is still there. And as you live your last year as a not-officially adult I hope you learn to let him surface more. That you soften some of the cynicism that you have like a shell around you sometimes. That you never stop enjoying the wonder of green grass against a sullen sky. That as you allow yourself to experience this first taste of love with your girl that it re-ignites your passion for life and beauty. And that as you learn to put someone else before you sometimes, the kindness that you want to live by overflows beyond that relationship and becomes an integral part of your nature.
It’s been a fucking hard year, but there has been beauty even in the sadness, and there are good and important lessons to learn through the hardest moments. Ultimately you’ll be a better, deeper, richer person with more understanding.
You. Are. Amazing.
And loved. So very much.
Never forget that.