A Letter to My Son.

Dear Cooper,

I was never going to be the mom who cried.

I was going to be the shake-it-off mom. The fist-bump mom. The mom focused on building wings so her little boy could fly.

And then, at Pre-K graduation, you sang "You've Got a Friend in Me" with all of your pint-sized buddies and feverishly waved at me from the risers, and I burst into tears. (Don't worry, Daddy promptly tempered the moment: "Are you seriously crying?" he said. "It's Pre-K graduation - it's not even a real thing!")

You are sunshine wrapped in a superhero cape - a cannonball of energy and curiosity and compassion and competitiveness and happy. You are the funniest person I know ("Momma, I know we're rich in love," you recently told me, "but I want to be rich in money, too."). You are the rush of leaping off the high dive, the cartwheel in the post-dinner dance party, the sweet kiss on my cheek.

Suddenly, now, it feels like you are not just mine, but the world's. And if I must share you, here are my wishes.

I hope that you remember your pleases and thank you's. That you never stop talking with your hands. That you always whisper "One more minute?" during bedtime snuggles.

I hope that your hugs stay as big and bold and often. That Papaw never stops being your best buddy. That you always make cards when you're sorry.

I hope that you find the boy sitting alone at lunch and join him. That you never stop believing you are part ninja. That you always know how to play games that aren't on an iPad.

I hope that, at some point, broccoli seems like a good idea. That you never stop liking math. That you always want to conquer the bad guys.

I hope that you celebrate the thrill of a Cleveland championship during your lifetime. That you never stop shooting the basketball with your left hand. That you always run the bases with such exuberance.

I hope that you surf in Hawaii, ski in the Swiss Alps and hike the towns of Cinque Terre. But that you never forget where you came from. And that home is always wherever family is.

I hope that the fire and joy that make you everything you are can be harnessed and amplified and shared. That you never judge. That you always love.

I hope that you forever laugh as loud and hard and often. That you never stop wanting to save the world. And that - even if you have to wipe a tear from Momma's face before liftoff - you always fly.

So suck it up, kid. Gimme some knuckles. Show me your smile. And use those wings.

Triple hand squeeze,


-Kristy Eckert is a Powell mom and the Chief Communication Officer at Flying Horse Farms, a camp in Mt. Gilead that provides magical experiences for children with serious illnesses. You can reach her at kristy@flyinghorsefarms.org.