You incubated inside of your mother for nine months. Nine months of a lifetime that we all hoped would be one that was satisfying to you as you were and are special to us. With each passing month, a new part of you would emerge as you continue to grow and take shape. The voices that filtered down to you would be those of that were orated by us who you will soon know as having come from your parents whose words you would come to depend upon whenever you needed them in addition to being words you will yearn to hear again after we have passed away.
As the ninth month arrived the moment we had been waiting for would soon arrive. You would begin your journey from your cocoon into the waiting arms of your mother while yher stood there in awe of the miracle he just witnessed which was the birth of his son. You cried as you suddenly realized you were no longer living inside of a womb but instead you are now outside in an environment that immediately intimidated you. Do not fear as your mother will hold you to comfort you for as long as you needed. Soon you would be put into the waiting arms of your father who was still in awe of the miracle he had just witnessed. He held you in his arms for the first time. It was then he realized this small creature he was holding was his son. The father was cradling his son in his somewhat skeptical arms.
We became enveloped by the fears all new parents feel or so we’re led to believe. What do we do if you cough or cry out in the night? How do we come to know what is it that you need, want or are feeling? We want you to know how much we love and much joy you have brought us in such a short time. Will a soft gentle voice help soothe you or perhaps just being laid upon our shoulder with your head leaning on a hand that so desperately wants you to stay there forever. In between the rhythmic rocking, we turn to gaze into each other’s eye with worries about the future.
Soon began the school years where your mind would start to be molded into being an integral part of your already growing intellect. Before we knew it you were reading books. Although it was a struggle you learned math. The same held true with Chemistry. Before we knew it before our very moistening eyes there you were onstage receiving your High School Diploma. We will never forget that moment that we froze in our memories. To mark how special and powerful that moment was we saved your High School Graduation gown which to this day hangs majestically in the corner of my closet.
A scant few years back at the beginning of your teenage years saw you become a man in the eyes of the Jewish Religion which you were born under. To become a Bar Mitzvah in the Orthodox Shul to which we belonged you had to learn how to lane (read) from Torah in the language of our fathers. Hebrew writing with the vowel sounds underneath the letters is exceedingly difficult to read. You had to learn not only to read Hebrew but do so without any vowel sounds. You also had to learn how to Lain (read from the Torah Scroll) using trop (similar to musical notes) none of this you had ever done or been exposed to. We as your parents felt so powerless and inept as we were unable to assist you with this seemingly insurmountable challenge. Time was growing short yet you with help from a young man that stepped forward and offered to tutor you so you remained confident.
On Saturday November 6th, 1999 which corresponded to the Hebrew date 27 Chesvan 5760 you stood tall on the Bimah (Jewish Altar) and lained the Torah reading for that week (Parshas Chayei Sara) which as luck would have it was one of the most difficult Parshas to read in addition to one of the longest. Yet there you were in your resplendent gray suit doing what few that came before you had ever done. If you close your eyes or if you never knew who our son was you would swear you had been doing this all of your life. If applause were allowed you would have received a standing ovation.
Over the years and to this very day we remind you of what you accomplished that Shabbos (Saturday) morning. The lesson we wanted you to take from this was and is that if you apply yourself in the same manner that you did back then there would be nothing that could stand in your way. Still, you struggled in part with trying to find out who you are in addition to trying to develop new friendships. It was so hard for you until you started on your first job. From there you made friends plus had money in your pocket. The nights you had to wait outside in frigid weather for buses that failed to show. Using your iron will you walked a couple of miles with snow falling around you to get home.
One day you came home and announced that you, had tried out for the US Army and had been accepted into their military police unit. Unbeknownst to you this unit was being trained so it could be deployed to a base in Afghanistan. Seeing you get on that plane (you had never flown before) bound for Kansas was hard enough for us but the thought you could be sent to a war zone where your life would be at risk was news we could not handle. Just seeing the pictures of you in your uniform was emotional enough but this news was too much to digest. You were being taught how to stab somebody so as to instantly kill them in addition to being shown how to shoot a rifle. In between, there were lessons on how to breathe with and without a gas mask on during the simulated gas attacks you had to go through.
The frustration of not being able to use a gun that was designed for a right-handed person with your left hand was an immeasurable challenge. You could not climb over the six-foot walls using the rope they gave you. The Staff Sergeant as were the other Sergeants were especially hard on you as the regularly belittled you which was the manner the Army had taught them to be. Never one to be a quitter despite your many threats to do so over the years but you hung in there as long as you could. We rejoiced when the news broke that you would not be going overseas. Shortly after that, your Army career ended and you came home got your old job back while falling back in love with your apartment.
Having a flair for working with your hands you took a job with a Plumbing Company where you hoped to become a plumber. During that time you bought your first car and had your first real girlfriend. Things were looking up for you. Alas, the Plumbing Company had to let you go as they were hiding illegal aliens and you were being watched. Naturally, you survived the hard times that followed. The one lesson that you learned from me that I had learned from my father was that you had to keep going no matter how hard it seemed.
Our main message to you our son is that we would always be there if you need to call us or just wanted some home cooked food and that our love was unconditional as it had always been. In the quiet moments, mom and I reflect on the mistakes we felt we made in the way we raised while lamenting about all the things we wanted so much to give you but could not. I constantly beat myself up for not being strict about going to college. No amount of words (even those that came from your mouth assuring me it was okay) could console me from the feeling I had failed you.
Aside from your mother, you are the most precious person in my life. We take the greatest care of that which is most dear to us. At 31 years of age (and unlike your father you are only on your second car) your whole life is still unfolding in front of you. If you do not mind mom and I would like to in a sense tag along for the ride. Try as hard as you can to think things through before you make a decision. Know that love cannot be bought with gifts. Keep your loyal friends close by your side as they like us want to see you succeed. You have a great friend who will go out of his way to help you. His family is your second family.
We know there is still a fire burning in your heart that is telling you there is more out there for you that you have not found yet or even come to grips with what is it that you feel is lacking in your life today. If it is the material things like money (we too could certainly use more money) that you need more of you are going to have to find a way to make yourself a more marketable commodity. What I mean is that you need to need to broaden your skills so you can hone in what you want to do and be able to make it happen. Over the years while I busy at all hours of the day and night trying to forge out a better life for all of us you may have felt pushed aside or unimportant. Why do you think I get so frustrated with you sometimes when I see you are not pushing yourself? From your achievements earlier in your life you have shown your mother and me there is greatness that lays inside of you waiting to come out. We can give our advice if you need or want it but you have to go out and make the efforts.
Just because you have not done something you want to does not mean you are not capable of putting another notch in your achievement belt. Letting yourself sink into a defeatist attitude is the worst thing you can do. As a family and individually we have had no shortage of mountains to climb that we thought would lead us so close to the stars that we could touch them only to find they were still so very far away. Perhaps one of those twinkling stars who move effortlessly through the nighttime sky was telling us we need to keep following a path that is lit by the moon, the sun, and the ever elusive stars. Live for your dreams but as painful as it is going to be you have to learn to open your hand and let go when it becomes clear your dream is just not bashert. Just so you know there will be other dreams. Yes, there will be other dreams.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to say you are scared especially during those times when your body violently thrashes you back and forth. With each new pain or strange sensation that I have never felt before comes the thought this may be the beginning of the end of my life that is hiding in full view right before my eyes. The pills you were given to keep your body from gyrating or you from losing consciousness are painful reminders that sometimes we need others who are in possession of skill and knowledge to help us. Mom and I know full well how it feels to be at the mercy of doctors with their prescription pad always at their side.
Our messages to you should not make you feel depressed or angry. We have admitted to our mistakes and must continue to live with them. The message(s) we give you shout out loud and clear WE LOVE YOU! Never let those words out of your head. Learn to say I Love You as that is the most powerful sentence in the English language. Only say those words if you really mean them.
Our message to you is that you cannot solve every problem but every problem does not need to be solved. Carry on with your life and live it to the fullest. Each 24 hours that pass is 24 hours less that is left for you to live. The technology of today is an incredible tool. It is so hard for us to see each other in person but now there are so many ways for us to be together even when we are apart.
Our message to you is that even though you will make mistakes you have to realize it is all part of the process of life. Try to correct mistakes (saying you are sorry sometimes helps) you have made but if you continue to repeat them you are telling people you have not learned anything.
Our last message is just simply that WE LOVE YOU! You are our son and come what may in the days of the future nothing will ever change the way we feel about you. We are proud of the man you have become. We are proud to call you our son!