Have Fun, Be Safe.

Have Fun, Be Safe.

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.

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Dear Baz,

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.

Love,

Mom

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Here’s To You

Here’s To You

 

When we graduated high school we swore we would keep up with each other all the time. We said we would talk on the phone and write to each other, believing that there was no amount of distance that could change our friendship.

We were wrong.

Between exams and the clubs and the new friends we met at our respective colleges, the phone calls grew further and further apart. Our lives went on, and we found ourselves on different paths with different people. 

 
It felt odd at first to experience things without you by my side, but over time, things settled into a routine. I became accustomed to discovering life with new friends with new inside jokes and new personalities. I stopped counting down the days to breaks where I would only see you for a few brief hours before being swept away by other friends and family. 

So yes, we were wrong about our friendship. Some combination of life and distance did change us—but not in the way we thought.   Sure, we were just two kids in high school, neither of us really knowing what was going on any more than the other, but talking to you in my driveway, or in your room, or at the beach under the stars always helped things seem a little more manageable. You pushed me to be my best when I was sure I was at my worst, and you saw so much in me that I never saw in myself. There is no amount of time or distance that could make me less grateful for that.

We have both done a lot of growing over the years, and one of the biggest lessons I have learned is to embrace change. Go with the flow. It is what it is. Our friendship is not what it used to be, nor will it ever be, because we are now more than a couple of high school kids hanging around and waiting for our futures. We are living our futures right this very second. It’s so nice to see my best friend do all of the things you said you wanted to do. I am so proud of everything you have done for yourself.  I am in awe of you!

The future is unpredictable, but our friendship is not. If you are ever need a familiar voice to talk with about unfamiliar problems, look me up, because I will always be happy to lend an ear and a friendly word.  New friends may come and they may go, but no one can ever take the place that you have in my heart. 

Everything in life happens for a reason, I believe we were put into each others lives. I love you and hope your birthday brings you even more blessings than you ask for, and may all good things continue to come your way. Happy Birthday, Vero! 

 

“You Learn”

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After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on TODAY
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.”

― Jorge Luis Borges

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Memories: My Earliest Memory

Memories: My Earliest Memory

My earliest memory is forever linked with a clown bottle filled with strawberry quick – you know, the kind that came in a tin can.

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Etched in my memory. (x)
a drink I used to love
a drink I used to love (x)

I vaguely remember Dad carrying me from my bedroom into the kitchen placed on the floor as I drank strawberry milk from my clown faced bottle.   As he set me down I could see Mom busy in the kitchen.  The drink was about to run out so I walked to Mom, pulled at her skirt and handed her the bottle.

 “Más?”, she asked. 

I nodded.

Mom took the bottle, rinsed it, and put it on the kitchen counter.  She opened the cupboard and took out a small tin can.  I smiled and clapped as I watched her take a spoonful of pink powder from the tin can and mix it with some milk in a cup, then pour it into my bottle.  As she handed me back the bottle, she smiled and said, “Ya mero vas a estar muy grande para tomar teta.” (Translation: “You’re getting too big, it’s almost time for you to stop drinking out of a bottle.”  The smile on my face vanished momentarily but returned as soon the bottle was back in my hands.

Years later while reminiscing with Mom I told her about this memory.   She couldn’t believe how much I remembered!  She confirmed that I did have a clown faced bottle in which she served me strawberry milk and that I was about two years old when this happened.  Apparently this is the exact moment she decided to wean me off the bottle and that was one of the last times she let me drink out of a bottle.  Perhaps that’s why I don’t remember drinking a bottle again; in fact I can’t stand the taste of strawberry milk!!!  However, to this very day the smell of strawberry quick transports me back into that moment as if it were happening before my very eyes.