Twenty-five years seems like such a big number, but wasn’t it only yesterday I was watching you apply doe-doe-rant to your underarms through your t-shirt and shaking that mop of curtain straight hair as you sing-songed your way through a conversation? And here you are, already 25 and about to graduate law school. Amazing. You were so curious about everything around you, but most of all you wanted my constant and undivided attention. “Mommy watch me do this. See this. I can do this. Here, look.” With all four of your grandparents around you, EVERYONE was watching you do EVERYTHING. I wish you could see through adult eyes the love I saw in their eyes each time they looked at you. You were the center of their universe.
Even before your arrival, we were excited about you. Grandma and Grandpa came to the obstetrician’s office for one of my pregnancy checkups, and after hearing your heartbeat pounding away on the doctor’s ultrasound for the first time Grandpa clapped his hands with glee. “Did you hear that Mildred?? I’m telling you, that’s a Marine!” (He was pretty sure you were a boy.)
When Ally came along you had a sister to pester you and for you to annoy for the rest of your lives. I’m not sure who got the better bargain, her for your protection or you for her to entertain, but I know that God made a match in heaven planning you two as siblings. You were so adept at attending to her needs that she didn’t bother walking until she was 15 months old. (You were 9 months when you were up and running.) When I asked Dr. Mohan about it she said Ally didn’t need to walk because Benjamin took care of everything FOR her. And hasn’t it been that way ever since?
We all knew by age five you’d be a lawyer. You thought three steps ahead of everyone else and talked incessantly. And of course, you could wear a suit well even then. As you walk through this life, I hope you will always remember how absolutely and unconditionally you are loved and that you are the heart of our family. You wonder about your path for the future, but you only need to move forward and you will see the way unfold in front of you, I promise. Choose thoughtfully when making decisions but never think so long that others make your choices for you. Trust your instincts, Ben; yours are impeccable. You truly are the smartest person I know – even if you have never believed me when I’ve said it. One day you’ll understand how true that statement is.
I’ve always known this earth would be a place forcefully changed because of your footprint on it, and I’m so very proud to be the person who was blessed to hold your hand over the years. The very best thing about my memories of that little guy from back then is that, whenever you’re with me, I always have him here with me. I love you, Benny, all the way to the moon.