For Charlie ~ On His 14th Birthday

My wonderful nephew is growing up so fast – makes me sad and happy at the same time.  I wrote this and gave it to him last month on his birthday.  Writing this and watching his face as he read it meant a lot to me…and I think it meant a lot to him too. 


Artist: Peter Max


For Charlie ~ On His 14th Birthday
I see you
And, I’m proud.
Though, not always frequent
Or up close and personal
I see you
And I’m proud.
From early tow-headed toddler days
When all you needed was your ragged
“Peelow”.  Torn up from constant cuddles,
And daily affections –
To Cowboys and Madden obsessions.
Excelling in sports yourself, such strength,
Prowess in athletic and academia talent.
I see you now…
And, I’m proud.
Although, sad to see you grow,
Faster – too fast – year after year
You’re now a young man cub –
A young man with a future so dazzling
I’m thrilled for you, the thought makes me smile…
Because I see you
And, I’m proud.
  
With compassion, you look out for others
Protecting those around you –
With humor, you remain grounded,
Overcome challenges, lightening up drama –
With determined focus, you possess a maturity
Stronger than myself, at age 14.
I know this because
I see you
And, I’m proud.
My wish for you on this day,
This year – your 14th birthday, is this:
Celebrate the YOU yesterday and today –
Celebrate the YOU yet to come.
Be proud of yourself, embrace the gift that isYOU –
So deserved, earned over the years –
See yourself then, now, and tomorrow

And, be proud!


Author: Mary

ABOUT MARY ~ I am a "late-blooming" writer from Texas who specializes in creative writing/poetry. I have a background in music, the performing arts, and enjoyed 14 years in sales/marketing & as a special events planner in the private club industry. I am a 1990 graduate from The University of North Texas who started off as a music major (voice), but I wasn't "feeling" it was the right fit. So, I took a break, changed directions & graduated with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. I was an athletic, healthy young woman who also displayed an unfortunate pattern in the men I chose in life (life lessons indeed!). After a brief marriage in the early 1990's, I decided to focus on my career, yet 5 years later I met hubby #2. So, with more maturity & high hopes for success, I married again & became a full time stepmother of two. Along with several rewarding events & fond memories came more challenges, yet I maintained a fun, successful career in the food and beverage industry until 2001. Life...as I knew it changed when I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Looking back, I must have been in denial or a state of confused shock as to how dramatically my life would actually change. I attempted to work a few more years after diagnosis, but I was becoming more unpredictable, forgetful, & lost - my job performance was never quite right anymore. You see, this disease affects everyone different. I went through relapses & other issues, but my mobility was intact - then. Unless you REALLY know me, I was then & continue to be labeled an "invisible symptom" case. My MS enjoys messing with my brain, & many other body functions. Anxiety, mood changes, nerve pain, heat & fatigue are debilitating - quite an uphill battle especially when stress is involved. A few more "in denial" years went by & I dealt with this vile invasion of my "internal room-mate". My husband couldn't understand, nor could he handle my ever increasing health issues - he hated every part of it (I don't really blame him for that). But, he avoided being around me when I was suffering - he {didn't sign on for this & I sure didn't look sick}. He was embarrassed as to how my MS affected his lifestyle. So, divorce and other challenges came into play in 2009. Those were painful, rough days. I know now I was suffering from a nervous breakdown. Not yet had I thought to seek the help of a professional therapist to help me cope or to help purge the noisy voices & chaos inside my head, so I began to purge through writing. WRITING saved me! I attempted to compose little songs & dove into playing piano again - I even taught myself a little acoustic guitar & it felt good...soothing. I had found a form of therapy which enabled me to breathe again; a healing tool that didn't require a prescription. This journey to reinvent myself actually seemed plausible via my artsy background & new creative outlets. I've become a student again & the benefits of turning off our "auto pilot switch" & instead focusing on learning new, foreign things & activities is priceless. This "rewiring" of the brain is called Neuroplasticity. Writing (primarily poetry) & music has filled me with a POWERFUL passion, purpose, & endless possibility. This may sound odd, but I'm grateful for the tough times! There's this gift called "resilience" - my MS & other life struggles have gifted this to me. A gift which forced me to find "me" & to focus on the important things in life...to laugh, live selflessly with compassion & passion. Find me on: 🔸Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals, @MSpalsPoets 🔸Facebook: MaryPettigrew48 🔸LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/mary-pettigrew-1b582330 🔸Instagram: 🔸https://www.mspals.org Acknowledgments and Press ~ • Two of my early poems were published in the U.K. in book compilations of poetry: ~The Summer of Sport: Forward Poetry 2012 ~ Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 • Featured in 2 articles in The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 'Momentum Magazine' ~ 2013 = art therapy & MS ~ 2015 = connecting via social media • My work has been featured/published in various book compilations, blogs, websites, as well as other multimedia platforms including: www.pajamadaze.com www.disabled-world.com www.HealthCentral.com www.MyCounterpane.com www.MS&MeRadio/TBI Network Something On Our Minds (SOOM): funds The Accelerated Cure Project "Twitter Q&A" - A Writers Experience (details forthcoming) • Creator & Co-founder of MSpals: a global organization (2014)

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