Never Leaving Neverland

Lost boysThis is the year CJ should be graduating.  He did repeat kindergarten, but he should be graduating this year.  I say “should be” because the kids that were born at the same time he was are graduating and going on to college.  As always, this is all bittersweet.  I am so happy for all of these great kids, especially the ones going to my alma mater.  There is real joy in watching them reach this milestone, ready to take on the world.

It has been so sad for me, though.  It brings back all The Nevers…all the things that will never be.  And it starts the grieving process all over again.

I occasionally make home videos for fun and I was asked to do a senior video for a young man who is just a couple of months older than CJ.  As I begin the project, I start putting together photos of this young man as a child.  He is wearing the exact outfits that CJ had at that early age.  He is playing with all sports toys like young boys do.  In the photos, I watch him grow up.  He now plays multiple sports.  He is a big, athletic kid…a baseball player, with big brown eyes and brown hair.  And he looks so much like CJ in some photos that I almost did a double take.

It was a gift for me to do this for them and I loved doing it, but at the same time, it ripped my heart out in a way I never, ever expected.  This young man has a scholarship to play baseball at a major university.  His brother plays football.  They are good looking, smart and nice.  I am beyond thrilled for them to be able to do what they love so much.  But it tears my heart out all the same.  I don’t want to take anything away from anyone else, especially anyone who deserves it this much.  But I just wanted CJ to be included in this dream, to be a part of our own milestones like this boy is experiencing, and once again, he is not.

CJ’s 18th birthday will come and go, and he will return next year to a wonderful school with wonderful teachers and kids.  He will help with the football and baseball teams.  He will continue to learn and grow.  He will increase his job skills.  We will find a way to make a house for him.  And he will be fine.

I will be too.


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