Apologies to My Oldest

By: Lakisha Culpepper

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We are half way through the senior year of high school for our oldest child and only son, DJ and my feelings are like glitter in a windstorm. I am both excited and swiftly troubled. It is these feelings that have prompted me to write this as a letter of apology to him, our first born.


Son, I apologize for not knowing that letting you sleep in our bed would mean moments I lost snuggling next to your small, round, warm, little, body. I am sorry I lost opportunities to hear your breath with the rising and falling of a soft chest and not watch you dream before the reality of adolescence came upon us. I miss holding your tiny hands and the scent of baby powder and sunshine.


Son, I apologize for not letting you climb every bookcase, ride you bike down a hundred more hills, for fussing when you used the “good sheets” to build forts in the dining room often breaking a dish or two (those dishes are all gone now anyway), and for not letting you stay up late eating junk food or salty snacks. I regret my fret for a clean kitchen and neatly folded towels that meant I did not spend every second in the sand with you.


Son, I apologize for those pre-teen years when your voice was still a bit high and your feet grew faster than our ability to purchase the right shoe sizes. I should have allowed you to run barefoot, rock out on your skateboard, and more time to play your trombone while I was preparing dinner. At the time, silence seemed to be what I needed but I did not know then, what I know now. I long to hear the clunk of that skateboard and trombone falling down stairs now and promise, I would not complain.


Son, I apologize for holding my breath as you stepped into manhood and being slow to realize the moment you made it there without me. We are so proud of how you hold yourself and the confidence you have found to be you. You hold yourself with pride and give to others with compassion. I see you above me and your deep voice rumbles all about me and I question when I blinked and you arose.


Son, you are fully prepared for the life you will live. We have taught you all we know and more. You have learned from our successes and many failures and you are strong for watching us do both. We have shared late night conversations, afternoon belly laughs, early morning breakfasts, sunrises, and sunsets, and I am certain you are ready. My only apology now is that we prepared you so completely to go, but failed to prepare ourselves to watch you ascend.


Your loving mother,