That kid on the left? That's my son.
In my 17 years of being his mom I haven't seen a photo of him that has made me feel more victorious than this one. Not the little league pitching photos (which, let's be honest, are mostly embarrassing), not the birthday photos in which he is surrounded by family and friends who love him, not the Christmas photos in which he somehow and miraculously agreed to dress up with Matthew and I as weird, WASPy, and terrible people. Nope, nothing has come close to this one.
I have found it to be incredibly hard to feel victorious as a parent. Usually, when I am not good at something I stop doing it or I get enough practice so that I become good at it. Not so with parenting. 17 years and I still feel like every day I am making it up as much as I did on that first day when they put me in a car at Cooley Dick and let me take home a newborn and I thought, "Really?"
But, back to the picture.
First, HE'S OUTSIDE. Victory for sure. Second, he is embracing a friend that I know he will know when he is 80, a male friend, who he is not afraid to show affection for in the least. Double victory. Thirdly, he is looking out, over, forward, beyond, and into. Awesome. When I was 17, well, I will not tell you what I looked at, but it wasn't this sunset or anything nearly as wonderous. It was dark and sullen and bad. Fourthly, he was in the midst of a physical/emotional/social expedition the likes of which I will never experience and cannot fully imagine when this photo was taken. Fifthly, that paddle. That's a good looking paddle, huh? HE MADE IT. What the?