I watched you–wild and fearless–in the water and saw the boy you are becoming.

You laughed at the sprays, danced in the drops, gulped down a fire hydrant’s worth.

I saw you at five. You have journeyed miles since four. I saw you at six, seven, eight starting to care how your hair falls and what jeans you wear with what accent T-shirt.

I saw you at eleven, turning away from me, gravitating into the pull of manhood.

I saw you at sixteen. You were beautiful.

All boy and all man and all caught in the in between. And I saw how my own heart got stuck in my throat and my mama arms were no good to you anymore. I saw how she might see you one day. And I ached for how she might hurt you and how I might have to strike that fine line between meddling mother and refuge for the little boy that still hides out in your heart.

His joy is treasure to me. I stockpile it now by the pixel load.

I saw you at 18, 19, 20 stepping over the bounds of boyhood and into yourself.

I saw you choosing calling and career above and beyond what I can imagine now. I saw you beat drums and live Africa and laugh with Karabo. I saw you dig your own roots deep, deep into the loamy soil of faith, growing up and over me and mine.

I saw with wonder the who you are becoming. And right there, in the spray ground, while you were still four, not yet five, and a mama’s ocean away from 20, I saw the standing ovation. Me in the jean skirt and “I love USA” T-shirt. I stood, soaked by the water and the memories that have yet to play out and I applauded both you and your Maker.

Because how could I not see how He is finishing the very good work He has begun in you.

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