It’s been three years since my boy left for college.

He didn’t get there by way of a high school diploma.

He got there after a couple of years, struggling to make his way in a world that often labels creative and non-traditional kids like him, rebellious, non-cooperative…delinquent.

Hank never did anything the traditional way. I remember once after a particularly difficult time…that included a hospital visit…he was sixteen or so…his younger sister looked at him and said, “Hank…why ya gotta always make things so hard on yourself?”

It wasn’t long after that he got his GED, was accepted into one of the most challenging fashion universities in the nation and left for New York City.

He stayed in college one semester.

Got a job with one of the top stylists in NY, then on to work with a Ralph Lauren brand and then to another established vintage line.

His life was his classroom. He poured over everything fashion, fabric, stitching, branding, sales and advertising. He studied philosophy, politics, religion and economics. He immersed every ounce of his being into learning.

Just not in the “traditional way.”

Hank is almost 23 years old. He is about the happiest person I know. He lives simply, loves fully and literally sees every moment as an opportunity for learning. I’m grateful we made it through and I’m not going to lie. There were moments I wasn’t sure we would.

And so this morning for all you mamas of kids like Hank, seeing the photos of dorm rooms and high school smiles…march on you mother-of-the-different-kids-warriors.

I see you and love you and remember what’s it’s like to hold a space for the children we love, even when it’s scary sometimes.

(And a quick sidebar…ain’t nothing wrong with the “traditional” way. It’s just not the only way. 🙏🏼🌼 At this stage in my life, I’m not sure what traditional is anymore.)