Dear Cole:

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I watch you, when you don’t realize that I’m looking; your still chubby fingers, your cheeks still slightly rounded and rosy red. When you were a baby I used to kiss the freckle on your stomach, right by your belly button. I used to stare at the swirl of perfect hair at the back of your neck, softly stroking the miracle of you. I still see that baby when I look at you, superimposed upon the toddler that you grew into, the boy you are now. I wonder what you will be, what your passions will become and how you will do in school.
I worry that your dad and I have made too many mistakes and that we’ve messed you up forever. I feel guilty about all that we’ve put you through; you’ve seen too many arguments, lived in too many places, lost too many things. Still you are happy, pulling joy out of whatever is available to you and making it your own, even if it’s just that you got to eat a peanut butter and jelly for dinner.
The other day you were concerned that I didn’t get to tell Santa what I wanted for Christmas, and I told you that all I really wanted was for you to be happy.
“That’s great, Mom!” you said, lighting up,”then you already got your present, because I’m happy right now!”
Saying this standing in your aunt’s kitchen because we don’t have a place of our own, the sunlight catching the sparkle in your eyes, and you are already happy and there is nothing else that I could ever want.
Watching you sleep at night your fingers twitch and rub your special blanket; you are busy even at rest. I have always told you that I love you more than the moon and the sun and the stars in the sky; these words are inadequate and will never do the trick. You are my everything.

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