‘Oh, look cookies!’ my son exclaims. ‘Of course. How did that happen?’ I reply with a smirk and a glimmer in my eye.
Cookies. Cookie Monster. My cookie monster. He’s 21 now. How did that happen? Five minutes spent digging through a clear Dollar Tree container, seeking a memory. A moment in time, 19 years ago – my little cookie monster in a royal blue jumper. A rainbow of characters spelling all I know to be true, then and now. My son has an overabundant appreciation for sweets – cookies and candy over pastries and cakes.
To my right, four pictures, two of my monkey in his jumper, and two I keep on my vision board. The first a reminder of Halloween of ’99; one the few times I tried to get creative with my son’s costume. Woody from Toy Story, sitting on midnight blue carpet, leaned into an old beige couch – smiling. A thoughtful smile, his eyes telling a thousand stories, not of what he’s seen or what he knows but rather what’s to come.
I see all that I knew he could be in this one picture. Not what he could achieve or who he could impress. Not who he would become according to the worlds standards or even mine. No, I see a thoughtful, kind-hearted, gentle soul who started life at a terrible disadvantage, yet lives as though nothing could take him down. Not worry or anxiety. Not expectation or disappointment. Not the ugliness of it all.
I see a man who will find his way in this world, absent of labels and accolades. A man who will love to the best of his ability, learning, while traversing the detours and dark corners of life. Seeking all that is good and light and honest in the darkest of debauchery. Never subscribing to ‘norms’ or generational behavior, he is his own man. Judged for not staying in the box; a box I could never and would never keep him in. My little cookie monster who refused to color the apple red. No sir, he was a beautiful 4-year old with kaleidoscope dreams – every picture colored to completion with a swirl of carefully selected colors. Never the color society would’ve prescribed.
I see authenticity. Individuality. Compassion. Love. Kindness. A giving heart. A unique spirit. Gentleness. Subtleness. I see all that we are meant to be and more – I see promise.
Photo by Erol Ahmed