This might just be the biggest victory of my life. This birthday feels uber-super-crazy significant, and not just in the usual cultural ways: He can do a ton of stuff he couldn't do yesterday! The Army is sending things to our house! He's technically a man now! No, this feels primal and necessary and peaceful and fleeting and momentous and I want to take a brief moment to think about it.
When I was 15 my friend Zane died. When I was 18 my first love Martin died. When I was 19 my good friend Ozzy died (he had been in the hospital when my Zane was born). By the time I was 24 I had gone to 5 funerals for people under the age of 22. I've spent a lot of time as an adult feeling the impact of these losses, and thinking about the impact of these losses, and I couldn't overstate them if I tried. Quite simply, I know about death. I know it's very close and I know it could happen any time, to anyone. I know you can't negotiate with it. I know it's final.
Zane's been an awesome kid to raise. He's kind and compassionate first and foremost. He's present, emotional, smart, people love him, and he still loves me - he tells me so every day. We've had our moments, even years, but all in all, I lucked out and I know it. As his 18th birthday has been getting closer it's been dawning on me that I think I've been holding my breath, hoping he lives to see 18, not being sure that he would.
Last night he called home at 10:45pm to say he'd be home by 1am, and he'd officially be 18 then. I said, "Okay, but I really do need you to come home. I need you to be alive tomorrow." He laughed and assured me he would be.
When I got up this morning I opened his bedroom door and there he was, all six feet three inches of him, spread out horizontally on a double bed that doesn't fit him even if he's sleeping in it the right way, and his chest was rising. And his body moved. And I can breathe a little deeper today.