So, I’ve started this post three times, and have deleted three times. This is IT. I’m just going to be honest. I adore this kid so much, words are difficult and inadequate. That being said, I want to share just a bit.
Dane age 2: I used to affectionately call Dane “kid” or “bub” when were out and about. After one such incident…he told me he didn’t like to be referred to by those monikers. I was somewhat surprised, and asked him why? To which he replied simply, “It makes me feel like you don’t know who I am.” I have never forgotten that small exchange. This little person made me realize the importance of NAMES. And on a deeper level, the importance of knowing who people truly are.
Dane age 10: He and Cai have always bickered. Sometimes it was out and out fighting. One day, Cai came into the house crying over some bullying incident that had just occurred with the neighborhood kids. I was doing something in the kitchen, and Dane was sitting at the table. He looked at his sister, got the names of the offending parties, quietly pushed back his chair, and without a word, walked out the front door to take care of business. I don’t know what happened after that, all I remember is the swift and automatic defense for his little sister. On that note, Dane (like his mom) has always hated a bully. Being verbally acute and physically intimidating, Dane has always chosen to defend those who are being mistreated. He does not stand idly by, but steps up and steps in.
Dane age 21: Dane loves mountains. Loves climbing. Our most precious interactions have almost always been on the trail. He can be somewhat gruff and stoic…a bit sharp in day to day existence. But when climbing and hiking mount Baldy last summer. He and I were completely alone at the summit. I asked him to give me a blessing for my coming school year. (For those of you unfamiliar, a “blessing” is a Mormon ordinance performed by ordained priesthood holders. A laying on of hands and prayer.) While I’m not very Mormon, there are certain practices and doctrine that will always be dear to my heart. During this blessing, I was overwhelmed with the love, concern, and utmost care this young man has for me. The feelings and spirit that was there left an indelible mark upon my mind, heart, and soul. This is the spirit of my son. It is not always on the surface, but it runs deep, and is literally, WHO HE IS.
Dane age 23: When I was grilling Dane on his motivations for attending Law school, asking repeatedly WHY he wanted to be a champion for those who cannot defend themselves. WHY he so detests abusive power structures? WHY he just can’t stand smug, entitled assholes. When in all reality, he has every opportunity to be one himself. His response? “I just want to punch those guys in the face”. WHY? Because they THINK they’re so smart, but anyone who practices such racism, intolerance, and is blind to social injustice is just stupid. And I hate stupid.” Fair enough. Hate bullies, and Hate stupid.
Finally. This boy has been one of the greatest teachers of my life. He constantly challenges me. CONSTANTLY. Our interactions and conversations FORCE me to refine my positions on every topic. FORCE me to choose my words more carefully. Force me to decide what I will defend, and WHY I choose to defend it. While this is somewhat exhausting (and often frustrating) his questions, challenges, and thoughts have FORCED me to grow and become a better woman. Well done son. Well done.