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.
Dicen que ya nadie se enamora. Que el último romántico ha muerto y que las flores ya no saben de floreros. Dicen que los besos a ojos cerrados pasaron de moda, que las cartas a puño son muy lentas, que agarrarse de la mano es cosa de viejos. Dicen que abrirle la puerta a una dama, para qué, si hay igualdad de derechos. Dicen que hay que pretender que uno no siente; que si te llaman bien, y si no, también, y si te he amado no lo recuerdo; ¿cómo te llamabas, que no me acuerdo? Dicen que para todo hay que hacer una cita, consultar el calendario, la fecha, el horario, dos cafés sin azúcar y pagamos a medias. Dicen que no hay diferencia entre el amor y el sexo, y que eso de querer con el alma es puro cuento. Dicen que no aman porque les da miedo el amor, y aunque tengan razón, nunca voy a estar de acuerdo. Porque digan lo que digan, aquí estoy yo, escribiéndole al amor. Queriendo, besando, sufriendo, muriendo y resucitando; solo para amar de nuevo. – Brando
Found this quote on Facebook and loved it so much that I decided to attempt to convey the same sentiment by translating it. Here goes:
They say that no one falls in love anymore. That the last romantic has died and that flowers don’t know about vases.
They say that kissing with your eyes closed went out of fashion, that handwritten letters are too tedious and that holding hands is for old people.
They say, about opening the door for a Lady, what for if we have equal rights. They say you must pretend not to feel anything; that if they call great and if they don’t that’s fine too. If I have loved you I don’t remember. What was your name? I don’t recall.
They say you must make an appointment for everything, check the calendar, date and time – two coffees, no sugar and we split the bill in half.
They say there’s no difference between love and sex and that loving with your soul is just a story. They say they don’t love because they are afraid of love yet even if they are right I will never agree with them. Because regardless of what they say, here I am, writing for love; loving, kissing, suffering, dying and reviving just to love again.
00:11 – What is love? It’s a hard term to define in so far as it has a very wide application. I can love jogging. I can love a book, a movie. I can love escalopes. I can love my wife. (Laughter)
00:34 – But there’s a great difference between an escalope and my wife, for instance. That is, if I value the escalope, the escalope, on the other hand, it doesn’t value me back. Whereas my wife, she calls me the star of her life. (Laughter)
00:59 – Therefore, only another desiring conscience can conceive me as a desirable being. I know this, that’s why love can be defined in a more accurate way as the desire of being desired. Hence the eternal problem of love: how to become and remain desirable?
01:21 – The individual used to find an answer to this problem by submitting his life to community rules. You had a specific part to play according to your sex, your age, your social status, and you only had to play your part to be valued and loved by the whole community. Think about the young woman who must remain chaste before marriage. Think about the youngest son who must obey the eldest son, who in turn must obey the patriarch.
01:56 – But a phenomenon started in the 13th century, mainly in the Renaissance, in the West, that caused the biggest identity crisis in the history of humankind. This phenomenon is modernity. We can basically summarize it through a triple process. First, a process of rationalization of scientific research, which has accelerated technical progress. Next, a process of political democratization, which has fostered individual rights. And finally, a process of rationalization of economic production and of trade liberalization.
02:42 – These three intertwined processes have completely annihilated all the traditional bearings of Western societies, with radical consequences for the individual. Now individuals are free to value or disvalue any attitude, any choice, any object. But as a result, they are themselves confronted with this same freedom that others have to value or disvalue them. In other words, my value was once ensured by submitting myself to the traditional authorities. Now it is quoted in the stock exchange.
03:32 – On the free market of individual desires, I negotiate my value every day. Hence the anxiety of contemporary man. He is obsessed: “Am I desirable? How desirable? How many people are going to love me?” And how does he respond to this anxiety? Well, by hysterically collecting symbols of desirability. (Laughter)
04:06 – I call this act of collecting, along with others, seduction capital. Indeed, our consumer society is largely based on seduction capital. It is said about this consumption that our age is materialistic. But it’s not true! We only accumulate objects in order to communicate with other minds. We do it to make them love us, to seduce them. Nothing could be less materialistic, or more sentimental, than a teenager buying brand new jeans and tearing them at the knees, because he wants to please Jennifer. (Laughter) Consumerism is not materialism. It is rather what is swallowed up and sacrificed in the name of the god of love, or rather in the name of seduction capital.
05:03 – In light of this observation on contemporary love, how can we think of love in the years to come? We can envision two hypotheses: The first one consists of betting that this process of narcissistic capitalization will intensify. It is hard to say what shape this intensification will take, because it largely depends on social and technical innovations, which are by definition difficult to predict. But we can, for instance, imagine a dating website which, a bit like those loyalty points programs, uses seduction capital points that vary according to my age, my height/weight ratio, my degree, my salary, or the number of clicks on my profile. We can also imagine a chemical treatment for breakups that weakens the feelings of attachment.
06:11 – By the way, there’s a program on MTV already in which seduction teachers treat heartache as a disease. These teachers call themselves “pick-up artists.” “Artist” in French is easy, it means “artiste.” “Pick-up” is to pick someone up, but not just any picking up — it’s picking up chicks. So they are artists of picking up chicks. (Laughter) And they call heartache “one-itis.” In English, “itis” is a suffix that signifies infection. One-itis can be translated as “an infection from one.” It’s a bit disgusting. Indeed, for the pick-up artists, falling in love with someone is a waste of time, it’s squandering your seduction capital, so it must be eliminated like a disease, like an infection. We can also envision a romantic use of the genome. Everyone would carry it around and present it like a business card to verify if seduction can progress to reproduction. (Laughter)
07:33 – Of course, this race for seduction, like every fierce competition, will create huge disparities in narcissistic satisfaction, and therefore a lot of loneliness and frustration too. So we can expect that modernity itself, which is the origin of seduction capital, would be called into question. I’m thinking particularly of the reaction of neo-fascist or religious communes. But such a future doesn’t have to be.
08:09 – Another path to thinking about love may be possible. But how? How to renounce the hysterical need to be valued? Well, by becoming aware of my uselessness. (Laughter) Yes, I’m useless. But rest assured: so are you. (Laughter) (Applause)
08:40 – We are all useless. This uselessness is easily demonstrated, because in order to be valued I need another to desire me, which shows that I do not have any value of my own. I don’t have any inherent value. We all pretend to have an idol; we all pretend to be an idol for someone else, but actually we are all impostors, a bit like a man on the street who appears totally cool and indifferent, while he has actually anticipated and calculated so that all eyes are on him.
09:20- I think that becoming aware of this general imposture that concerns all of us would ease our love relationships. It is because I want to be loved from head to toe, justified in my every choice, that the seduction hysteria exists. And therefore I want to seem perfect so that another can love me. I want them to be perfect so that I can be reassured of my value. It leads to couples obsessed with performance who will break up, just like that, at the slightest underachievement.
09:53 – In contrast to this attitude, I call upon tenderness — love as tenderness. What is tenderness? To be tender is to accept the loved one’s weaknesses. It’s not about becoming a sad couple of orderlies. (Laughter) That’s pretty bad. On the contrary, there’s plenty of charm and happiness in tenderness. I refer specifically to a kind of humor that is unfortunately underused. It is a sort of poetry of deliberate awkwardness.
10:23 – I refer to self-mockery. For a couple who is no longer sustained, supported by the constraints of tradition, I believe that self-mockery is one of the best means for the relationship to endure.
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!
Like many women I fancy the idea that someday I’ll stumble upon that special person I am meant to share the rest of my life with. While I’m not expecting some unrealistic magical love-at-first-sight moment in which we’ll take one look at each other and “just know”, I do believe in true love and the power of human connection – the kind that develops gradually over time, through shared experiences.
I yearn for the kind of relationship in which I can share moments and pieces of myself with someone; to have the kind of connection that leads to thoughtful conversations filled with laughter and love for one another. Sharing a simple glance, and seeing in his eyes absolute love, compassion and understanding. Queue the swooning…. Sounds so easy – right? It could be that easy, but we each carry all sorts of emotional baggage that we end up sabotaging ourselves.
Two months ago I met a handsome, intelligent, charming, funny, sensible, articulate, knowledgeable, and responsible man. He’s also a loving and extremely involved father which happens to be a super attractive quality to me. He’s just awesome! Except that due to his work schedule and my lack of transportation we don’t see each other much. While taking things slow is the sensible approach, part of me feels that if he wanted to see me he’d make the time to do so. I mean, we could work out together or I could help him with his chores while we chat, etc. In typical analytical form I start imaging that perhaps he’s really not as interested as he initially seemed. He’s always either working, training, working out, spending time with his children or preparing his weekly healthy meals. Really? Perhaps he’s just leading me on…I mean I’m a perfectly chill chick, witty, smart and easy to get along with – why wouldn’t he want me around more often? Why wouldn’t he want to introduce me to his friends? Why is he always so busy? My verdict – He’s emotionally unavailable.
What about me? If I’m going to come to such a conclusion about him, I need to take an honest look at myself. Have I truly been my charming, smart self? Have I honestly been open?
The truth is that I have been apprehensive and more than just a little withdrawn. The poor guy has practically been doing all the talking every time we’ve spent time together!!! Here I’ve been all sanctimonious, judging him as evasive and emotionally unavailable when in fact I haven’t exactly opened up to him either. SMH
He’s intuitive enough to realize that something has been off with me even asking me point blank, “are you okay?” In spite of my dismissive replies he has given me several chances to open up but instead I sat on my “high horse” inwardly judging him. I think I owe him an apology. He is a great guy and despite this recent realization I too am a great gal. I really would like to continue spending time with him, even if our dates are few and far between now.
So, I have been talking to a guy I met online and I am beyond thrilled!!! We met for coffee on our first date and spent the next five hours talking and joking and just enjoying each other’s company. To say that we hit it off right away is an understatement! There’s this amazing connection that feels very organic. There’s nothing forced about our interactions with each other and I feel so calm, so comfortable…. as if I’ve known him all along. It’s a little bonkers – really!
No I have not gone off the deep end! I don’t know where this new relationship is going. I don’t feel the need to label it or pressure him into defining what is happening between us….there’s no need and I don’t care! Whatever is happening I deserve it and so does he. I’ll keep you posted… 😉
Dating is emotionally taxing, overwhelming and expensive…. YET, I’ve decided to put myself out there again; because, let’s face it, I’m not going to meet ANYONE whilst watching movies or reading on my couch!