To the only woman who has my heart. Thank You.
As February 4th approaches, I just wanted to thank you for creating the perfect life that you could set up for me, even when things weren't so perfect from behind the curtain. You never let that show, and it's only now that I realize the beauty in that. Life wasn't and will never be easy, but I love your efforts in painting a world of endless dreams and possibilities. You've always let your faith in God, and positive outlook on life, shine bright enough to get us over our deepest troubles. Thank you for instilling that into me as a young boy.
Ever since I can remember, you've been the one there for me, by my side, the most. It's not my Dad's fault - there are marriages that just don't work out. Like a cell, sometimes it's better to split, so there can be growth. I used to think, as a child, what my life would be like if my parents were still together, but then that takes away everything that I loved about my childhood. The brothers, the step-father, the step-mother, the grandparents and aunts & uncles that I've gained, and some since lost, have been such a foundation to my upbringing. The adventures that I've made with each individual is something I wouldn't trade anything in the world for. I never want you to feel regret or failure, because with that lost there has been so much obtained.
You wanted me to be the best that I could be, and to live a life you didn't have. You wanted me to find my own path and excel to heights, not yet reached by you. I admire that. You made all of my dreams and passions tangible. I remember going to Winston-Salem, NC with you and my brother Michael, so that we can compete in a traveling soccer team. We stayed in, what I thought was a fancy hotel, with an elevator that went up over seven floors! We road up and down that elevator countless times, as we watched the life of the hotel pulsing below from out the window. Up, down, up, down we went. We would play a game while we waited for the next one, to see which of the elevators would open up first after hitting the call button. I still catch myself doing that to this day.
You were so spontaneous and would wake us up bright and early on Saturday mornings, to a car already packed with our belongings for a trip. Many times, it would be to Emerald Isle. Michael and I would sleep on the way there, and you would wake us up just in time to spot the "ice cream cones" (a large, ice cream cone shaped radio tower that was our indicator to letting us know we had about 45 minutes left in the car). I would sing, and you would let me. My fondest memories of our trips are when we would go to the beach for a day, and decide to stay one more day before school starts back. We couldn't afford to stay in a hotel, so we would camp out in the car parking lot at the Pier, or at a campsite nearby, and have just as much fun the next day.
After Mema passed away, I lost a bit of myself. I think we all did. Sometimes, I think of how selfish I was to leave you, especially right after you lost your Mom. It was just hard for me to push through, knowing that she wouldn't be there physically anymore. I thank you for allowing me to create such a bond with her and understanding my decision to move out at the age of 15. You don't know how much that step was needed to mold the person that I am today. As proud as I am to be from a small country town, like Wilson, NC, there was nothing for me there, especially as a closeted gay teen. I thank you for trusting that I would be okay at my Dad's house with my brothers and step-mom in Durham, NC.
Starting my new life in a different city without my Mom nearby was challenging. However, we made it work. Remember when we bought webcams just to be able to see each other? Thank God for Facetime! Thank you for gifting me the opportunity to experience life as a growing man by my father's side. I know how much it hurt you to see me go, and I'm sorry for that pain. I needed this new life to really find myself again, and I did. My shy, sheltered shell was cracked by a new school, lifetime friends like Anna, Torie, Alex and Royce, and an incredible music department led by Mrs. Boliek. Hey, you were the one who encouraged me to audition for advanced chorus the week before school started. I remember the first person that I met was Landon Summers, a senior that year, and since then I was introduced into the music scene at my new high school.
You helped me raise money for trips to the Bahamas, Disney World and Boston, so I could see parts of the world for myself. You never missed a show that I was in, even bringing along a friend from Wilson. Sometimes, I look back at the videos of my solos and performances and laugh at your camera skills. You would be filled with so much excitement and joy that you would shake the camera and the focus would go in and out. Thank you for being there, for everything. It meant the world.
I remember being 17 and staying with you during my summer vacation to work at the dentist office. Man, we both thought that I was going to be a dentist one day. Funny how things worked out. That summer American Idol was holding auditions in Charleston, SC. You packed the car, like you have many times before, and we set off on a new adventure. What a memory to share with you. I sang Otis Redding, 'The Dock of the Bay' in a crowd of 15,000 people.
A year passed, and I graduated high school. My plan was to take a gap year off of school to pursue music. You bought me my first acoustic electric guitar and I wrote many songs that summer. It was also the summer that I found love, except this time, it wasn't with a girl. The pressure was building up the more that I wanted to talk to you about him, but I couldn't come out. Not yet. I never expected you to understand. I mean, we came from Wilson. It was unheard. I would find myself falling asleep to unanswered prayers to reverse my feelings inside, but God knew what he was doing when he created me to be your son. I finally came out to Josh, my oldest brother, and then to my Dad. I was so nervous to tell you. You were my rock. I feared of losing you. Dad came with me to Smithfield's BBQ in Zebulon, NC, where we met you and my cousin Taylor, who was there to soften the blow. I remember before we could even get our food my Dad spills the beans and says "Cameron has something he needs to tell you". You were so worried that I had gotten a girl pregnant. So, I told you. "I am gay".
It was you who gave me this courage. All that you have taught me had come down to this point. I was finally able to be who I am, the talented, loving man that you helped to create. I never realized that the strength that it took to face that was the same strength that you bestowed in me my entire life. Thank you. Thank you for excepting all of me and teaching me what love is.
You were there for me when I went off to Charlotte, NC for Dental School, only to end up switching to Residential Design a semester later. You and Dad believed in my "eye" before I could.
Years later, I made it back home to Durham, NC, finding myself so much stronger, wiser and mature because of you. You helped me create the vision that is Nouveau Central and even the name. I promise you'll get your royalties once I hit it big.
Mom, I just wanted to put in words how much these past 24 years with you have meant to me. I owe you everything. I love you so much more than words can express and can't wait to see what the future holds for us. I'm sorry I am a pain in your butt, literally, I broke your tail bone during birth! But I do it, because you're my mom. The one person I can rely on whenever I need you. You're my rock, and my everything. I love you.
Thanks for birthing me 25 years ago.