I am watching you.
You are running around on the beach, having the time of your life. Your eyes are sparkling. Your cheeks are flushed. You are happy and carefree and strong and capable.
I am sitting on the warm sand, watching you.
My heart fills to the brim with happiness that only watching you can bring me. It nearly explodes with love so powerful, it brings tears to my eyes.
I love you so much that it hurts.
With love comes fear. The fear of something happening to you. The fear of losing you. But I don’t want to think about that right now. I am too happy.
Watching you brings me more joy, more sense of pride and accomplishment than anything else. My own accomplishments are nothing compared to yours. The military career, the law degrees, the writing, nothing is as fulfilling as watching you take your first step, say your first word, swim your first lap, write your first sentence.
I would give my life for you. If we ever find ourselves in a situation where I have to sacrifice my own life to save yours, I would do it in a heartbeat. There is no question in my mind that your life is more important than mine. I am the past. You are the future. I would do whatever it takes to make sure you survive.
I am watching you, thinking about how much I love you, thinking that I love you more than I love myself, and I suddenly realize that my own parents feel the same way about me. And my heart fills with love and gratitude to them.
If everything was taken away from me, if I had to stop all my activities and choose just one thing to do for the rest of my life, it would be what I am doing right now: sit back and watch you grow.
In the photo: my children.