He is the firstborn of a firstborn of a firstborn.

I remember my Dad saying, “Being the firstborn is tough, nobody gets that unless you’re “it”… you’re the icebreaker. Your parents are still trying to figure things out. And as the oldest, perhaps you feel a sense of nurturing duty that the youngers do not.”

Bang. On.

I couldn’t have asked for a stronger, more dedicated, patient-while-I-figure-things-out soul as my son, Andrew Steven Glasier. He is far and away the best IceBreaker of them all. I couldn’t have gotten any luckier had I hit the multi-billion dollar lottery.

Best. Firstborn. Ever.

Ooh, life has been far from easy for this soul. Because I was anorexic and full of fear, I am sure he did not get all the nutrients for peace and thriving. He hung on, though. Thank God.

While he is incredibly wise and insightful, he stumbled through school with social awkwardness, dyslexia, and Asperger’s Syndrome. At the time, we were unaware of how difficult it must have been for him just to make it through the day. I’m afraid I wasn’t the pillar of support he deserved, misunderstanding some of his behavior for rebellion. Perhaps there was some of that in there – after all, he’s MY kid and I’m weary of rules and regs so I dig a rebel vibe – but mostly I believe he was trying to understand language and etiquette with a steep disadvantage. (And who, in their logical freakin’ mind, thinks that it’s a smashingly wonderful idea to have a kid who barely can unpack English because of LD also learn Spanish… ? Oooooh, the hours of frustration, I cannot begin to tell you…)

But, by God, this soul endured.

He endured a mom who was in the midst of conquering my own demons… and mothering his younger siblings. There were days that life was breathtakingly overwhelming, for all of us.

Do you know that, even as a teenager and on into his twenties, Andrew never raised his voice or disrespected me? He held his temper with incredible nobility. Just pondering his stability, his ability to see above the situation, his strength to see through to the other side of our difficulties… brings me to my knees. I am humbled to have given birth to such a gifted soul.

I’ve often thought that perhaps he is an Old Soul. That there was some kind of call to duty… that the Earth cried out, “Help! SOS! Wanted: Energies steeped in wisdom, peace, and strength to lift the vibration” and Andrew stood up.

“Here I am, send me,” he would have volunteered, knowing that the price for such a mission is usually challenging childhoods. “That’s okay. I know who my Mom is going to be. She’s feisty and moody, but she’s also nurturing and well-intentioned. I know we may not see eye-to-eye through my growing up years… but as we both mature and evolve, we will become best friends. Inseparable really. So, Earth, count me in.”

Or something like that.

We’ve had some giggles. In English class with Mrs. Corcharan, he had to write a paper on “Interscholastic Sports.” Because of his LD, he misheard her and wrote an entire thesis on “Intergalactic Sports.” Because his lovely teacher told him he in fact proved his point, she gave him an A. He and I will always remember this wonderful and wise woman.

I ponder what it must have been like for him to have endured school with such a learning deficit. Most of us struggle to get from morning til evening without proprioceptive and auditory issues, but this kid beats all. As I reminisce, his countenance to endure causes me great pause.

Old Soul. Indeed.

Somehow, he must have known how much I needed his vibe in my life. He was so stinkin’ cute, the blondest hair and the sweetest smile. He was quiet, musically gifted. He played the clarinet all through high school, always rockin’ it at the All-County Festivals and such. He dabbled in football and wrestling, but to be honest I think they were not his jive mostly due to his gentle nature. Ah, on the outside you may never know… but he is a Lover, not a Fighter.

Upon graduation from high school, Andrew wandered. What to do with this one wild and precious life? He set his hopes on the military. My heart sank. Deep within me, I was sure it was not a good fit. That said, I longed to see his desire come to fruition. We persevered and soon after, he was off to Boot Camp in Texas.

One of the most profound memories of my entire life was when, after celebrating Andrew’s boot camp graduation, we boarded the plane to return home. We said good-bye to our oldest, not knowing when we would see him again. (At the time, there was minimal phone service so we had NO communication opportunities.)

I cried. I sobbed from the depths of my being the entire flight home. My husband and I were seated separately… and not that it would have mattered… because I could not have stopped myself. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before – or since – but I could not stop weeping. I physically mourned leaving him. My whole being ached. I could not wrap my head nor heart around not seeing him, and not knowing where he was, or when I would see him again.

These were very difficult years for us. Going sometimes three, four, or even six months without a call from him… I can’t even begin to adequately express my desperate sadness. I felt like I was sleepwalking through my days. Smile on my face, but I was terribly distracted. I could “feel” him – and I knew that, wherever he was and whatever he was doing, life was ebbing from him. He was hanging on the ledge. Intuitively I knew.

I was right. Of course. We may have struggled to get along during those high school years, but the bond he and I share is thick and real. He finally called one day, “Mom, I’m coming home. I’m done.” He was messed up. It took nearly three years for him to unwind the confusion in his heart, unpack the mess in his head, and get back on his feet.

But, he endured. He’s a determined soul.

No victim card.

I remember the time when, unsure what to do next, he headed out west. Quickly discovering this wasn’t going to jive, he chose to remain there, and homeless. For three months, Andrew lived out of his car. He had one afghan that I had knitted for him and a couple hundred dollars. He sufficed on rotisserie chickens and gallon jugs of water. It was not unlike him to share his meager supplies with the local homeless guys, though it meant he would go hungry.

Yes, he endured.

“Mom, it’s time.” And just like that, three months into his spiritual sabbatical, he started the long drive back home. He drove straight through and 27 hours from that phone call, hopped out of his car and into my open arms. I found myself sobbing. Again. My son had come home, body, mind, AND soul.

He continues to trek his journey. Old Souls’ paths are more treacherous and demanding than the rest, but he travels on with dignity, wisdom, and humility.

He is unattached to worldly possessions. His siblings mean everything to him. His allegiance to each of them is so high vibe. When something good happens to any of them – Adam buying a house; Alex getting a good-paying job; Austin still with Bailey; Alisia kickin’ it at art – he could not be more proud. He is their loudest fan and cheerleader. And biggest protector. My children are safe while Andrew is at the watchtower.

I remember apologizing to him for like the 68th time about one incident or another from his growing up years. “Mom, mom, please. Stop. Enough. Don’t you know you mean the world to me?” Even now, I tear up pondering his gentle manner towards me. On my mirror, I have posted his picture and a piece of paper on which he wrote, “Mom, I saved my going-out money for you.” Cash was my birthday gift. Can you even? And he’s the one texting all his sibs to remember Mother’s Day. I know, I know. Gobs and gobs better than the lottery, huh?

He lives out in Niagara Falls now, though I am secretly praying that he’ll move to Buffalo which is closer to me. Fact: I pray this every day. Truly. His vibe is good for me. More than just my son, I feel we are connected in some cosmic I-knew-you-before way. He is my firstborn, yes, but more than this, he shows me strength of character, loyalty, stoicism. He has been the manifestation of Patience in my life. In his space, I have grown in my own patience, my sense of peace, and a high vibe of self-forgiveness. Without Andrew, my life would have unpacked itself radically differently. Knowing him has caused me to desire to live more gently, more reflectively, more truthfully.

This is his song. It is no exaggeration to say that I sang it nearly every day while he was gone. Weeping for not knowing his whereabouts, this song held me until I could finally hold him. Please, if you have a moment, it’s worth the watch. Ponder our soldiers far from home and give thanks.

Beyond words, I am so thankful for Andrew’s life intersecting with mine this time around. I could not be more proud of the man he is growing to be. From caring for his siblings to sharing with the homeless, Andrew truly knows – perhaps better than all the rest of us – what this life is all about.

Love. One. Another.

Andrew, of all people I’ve ever met, is my Hero.

Andrew, I love you.

You. Complete. Me.

Much love & hope,



Letters From War

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