‘Every Man dies, but not every man truly lives.’
I awoke to a middle of the night text message last night. Any parent knows the rush of anxiety that ripples through you when your eyes, bleary from sleep, focus in on your child’s name lit up on your cell phone screen in the wee hours of the morning.
I clicked on the message and all that was there was a video- I hit play and the first words of the video stunned me. There was a bit of a crossroads that happened in my head in that moment- surely my son was ok, because he had just sent me a text message- but the topic of the video was not light- and I couldn’t stand that little tiny shred of unknowing.
I quickly closed out the video and texted him back- a mom’s favorite question ‘Is everything okay?’ – in the two or three seconds that it took him to reply I am certain my heart rate at least doubled…
His reply was simple and sweet- ‘Ya, Ma. Everything is good. I just knew you would like that video.’
With that, gratitude washed over me like a wave. How lucky I am to have a child who is not only alive and well in this world, but one who takes a moment out of his busy 24 year old life to send me a video about life, death, and meaning.
As parents I am not sure any of us ever really know how well we have either succeeded or failed at our task- and as a mom, I walk the tightrope between those two things with our three kids almost daily. I usually know it myself when I have failed, and I am my own worst critic- but it is almost always my kids, who show me the small ways I have managed to succeed.
Receiving that video last night felt like one of those little wins. The man I tried to raise- the one I intended him to be- would enjoy that video…. So even though his sending it to me was probably not much of an epic event to him, it gave me a glimpse inside him- and those glimpses are harder and harder to get as he moves further into the larger world and away from my direct sight. The glimpse it gave me warmed my heart and soul.
When I finally returned to the video and watched it in full- I had to grin at the message those first words that are uttered embody- They are reminiscent of a favorite quote- ‘Every man dies, but not every man lives.’ It was these very words that this first born child of mine chose for his premier tattoo- a choice he made way before it was okay with his momma that he was getting words tattooed across his back. I remember when he unveiled it to me- I wanted to be mad about the tattoo- but the words were so beautiful….
I never really knew if his choice of words came from an appreciation for the philosophy they espoused, or were a sneaky way to buffer the reaction he knew he might get to that permanent black lettering that would forever adorn his body….
As I watched that video last night, it seemed pretty obvious that his choice in tattoo wording was perfect- reflecting something deep within him that continues to have meaning for him today…
I hope he never stops sending his little middle of the night check ins. The sleep lost is always worth the insight gained… How lucky I am.
…Here is the video