My Baby Boy turns 18 today!!! I cannot believe this day has arrived – a day I have simultaneously anticipated and dreaded. While I could write a novel about my experience with this boy and how it has largely made me into the person and mother I am today, I will spare you the soliloquy. Instead, I am going to speak directly to him and invite you to read along.
Today is a big day — you turn 18! When you were born, this day felt like a goal line way off in the distance. It seems like just a few days ago you were just a little boy, running up to me for a hug with your sweet little voice and boundless energy. Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime filled with unconditional love, laughter, joy, fear, frustration, and tears, for both of us. As you know, life doesn’t always go as we plan and you’ve endured a couple of rough bumps. Stuff happened that was out of your control and you handled everything very well for your young age. I’m almost certain that I felt short sometimes so, if I’ve ever done anything that I need to ask your forgiveness for, then I humbly ask that now. I pray that as time goes by you’ll remember the good times more so than the rougher moments. Fortunately for us, we’ve had plenty of great times.
Turning 18 is exciting. It’s a new chapter in your life. You’re an adult now – at least as defined by the law. Reaching adulthood brings great benefits but it also demands more responsibility. While I want you to have phenomenal experiences at every stage of your life, I also want you to be proud of the choices you make for yourself. There will be times when you’ll have the urge to do something you know you shouldn’t. When that urge comes – and it will – stay focused, and keep your eye on the big picture because ultimately you are responsible for your own actions.
I’ve often worried about so many things: Did I do what was best for you? Did I teach you everything I was supposed to instill in you? Did I pray for you enough? Hug you enough? Discipline and say no enough? Do the right things to keep you safe? Take you on enough adventures? I know you can cook for yourself and do you your own laundry, but did I forget anything important…. Yet, I’m certain that you will do well in life. I see it. I sense it. You’re smart, responsible and almost as charismatic as your mother! 😉 Just in case, I’ll leave you with these thoughts:
– Communicate with those you love. It’s important for our growth and for those close to you to know what you are thinking and feeling. Hug them often.
– Talk through your emotions; explain anger instead of acting on it.
– Be patient with people, especially your younger cousins. They all look up to you.
– Relax and don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously, it’s not worth worrying about petty stuff or even stuff you can’t control.
– Educate yourself and never stop learning. Find something you enjoy doing and put your heart and soul into it. It will never seem like work.
– Manage your resources responsibly. Save your money so when times are tough or you need to help someone you can.
I love you very much, son. I am proud of you and it is an honor to be your Mom. I wish you all the love and happiness in the world and I look forward to seeing you move into this new chapter of your life. Remember, I am always here for you.