(I told you he was adorable.)
The images of this child...in my kitchen, in the backseat of my car, in my bedroom before dawn's earliest light and long after the last dish was washed in the evening...haunt me for one simple reason - I wasn't listening.
I was busy.
Busy doing what, I cannot tell you. Making the beds? Baking the cookies? Organizing the fundraisers? Taking soup to the sick? It is beyond anything worth searching for in my junk drawer of a memory, I can promise you that.
There is one scene that comes in loud and clear, though...from 13 years ago. I was in the kitchen - busy. My storyteller was talking, and I was paying enough attention to say "uh-huh" and "really" in response. Exasperated, he stood up, looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Mom, you're not even listening."
He was right. And he stopped talking.
That boy is 23 years old today. His view of the world is now bigger than mine - so much more studied and wise and complete. He's traveled Europe, lived in California on his own, read hundreds of books I've only talked about reading, worked alongside the homeless, written music, played in orchestras and rock bands and church ensembles, loved deeply, lost painfully, and lived - always - authentically.
I am very lucky. This boy still tells me his stories (although he usually waits to be asked). It is one of the most significant measures of grace I have ever received. I try not to think about the things I must have missed when I was too busy to listen.
We think they'll be 3 forever...and then, poof, they're 23. Pay attention.
Happy Birthday, Travis!