Thirty years ago today, I gave birth to my - our - one and only child. We knew you were going to be a son, and we knew what your name was when you finally found your way to the world. You took your time arriving, but when you did, you were Andrew Louis McNeil Berlien.
In the years since then, you've been known by oh, so many names.
Some, when your were tiny, because you were something new to us, something huge and wonderful and completely scary, and that amazing baby mix of unbreakable and dangerously frangible, so we had to joke about you being in our care, or we'd have sunk under the weight of the responsibility - Goat Boy, Spud Boy, Goonlet, Goon.
Others, as you grew, were road signs and maps of how we dealt with one another:
Mother's names. Father's names, too, because Bob was the best at raising you. You and I, we made a pretty good brother-sister team, though, didn't we?
You had other names; as you grew, as you stumbled, as you grew some more, as you fucked up, and got smart, and fucked up again, and got smarter, and learned to care for others and helped them, and grew in wisdom even when you were being less than wise.
You tried names on for size; artist, writer, singer, musician. You kept a part of each name and molded each part into yourself. There were others, too, as you grew up further; harder worker, deeper thinker, truer heart, better friend.
You are, like all humans, a work in progress. You are, you should pardon a mother her pride, a work of self-made art. And an asshole, as all artists are, more than occasionally - you should pardon a mother her over-the-glasses-glare. And still apt to stumble. But now you get up and go on. And you think ahead, and plan almost as much as you dream. You're learning to be fearless.
Now get that out of your mouth.
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