I hardly recognize the boy who lives upstairs. As I lay here listening to the rain gently fall against my window I wonder how I missed it. When did they stop having to pry that boy from my arms when I would bring him to preschool? When did he stop walking up behind me scaring me half to death pretending he was a train whistle? When did he stop running up the driveway to get to the house when the bus would drop him off after school? When did I look up and notice he was so much taller than the day before? When did he stop texting for me from school and stop needing me to help with schoolwork? I spent so many years wanting him to be more independent, more mature… That day is here and I barely remember the in between. He turns 16 today. My heart is half broken because I know how each new year passes faster than the one before. I know how he will disconnect from home and start a life in the world on his own. I can’t see the little boy anymore. He is a young man and he gets his license in one more day. I see his wings excited to fly on their own. I see his confidence and the way he notices girls after school. I notice each fraction of an inch his pants get a little bit shorter. I see him now and I regret not paying more attention before. 16 years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. Just yesterday I was a young mom with two small kids and today my heart is sad as I think about how fast they have grown. They have been my whole life, my greatest concern, the loves of my life, my reason to get this parenting thing right and although they are older, I realize that will never change. I hope once in a while they look back when they pull away. I hope they think about home and see a soft place to fall and know that my love will always be unconditional. I hope they find their place and shine proudly on their own while I watch from the sidelines and bask in their amazing light. Happy birthday to my not so little boy. Slow down. Time moves fast enough. Be happy. Embrace being 16 for this too shall also pass.
On Thursday, my daughter will turn eighteen. How blessed I am to have had the opportunity to hear someone call me mom for that long. We celebrated her birthday over the weekend. The ride home was quiet. Her cake sat on my lap like a weight hanging heavy on my soul. Where did the time go? The same little girl who clung onto me for dear life at preschool was ready to let go and run. Would she even look back? My tears escaped onto the cake box, each one a reminder of how much I was going to miss her. Each one aching, begging for just a little more time. Am I ready for this? Is she ready? Eighteen. How can it be. I close my eyes and I see her little pigtails blowing in the wind. For a moment, she is two, sitting in a field of wildflowers and time stands still. I see her little hand move through the colors. A purple and orange tapestry of pure beauty with her sitting in the middle of it. The symbolism smiles back at me. Why didn’t I see it before? She is my precious, unpredictable wildflower, growing at her own pace and in her own precious time unbound by anyone’s limits. Her spirit, her beauty could not be contained. I go to the place I keep that picture. I drink it in, desperate to taste the day one time more. My heart breaks a little as I study every detail of her tiny face. For that single moment, I am there in that field pointing my camera at her sweet little face while the flowers tickle my bare feet. In my next breath she is standing before me, eighteen and I think again how blessed I am to be her mom. I remind myself quietly, savor every moment. You can’t get a single minute back.
I can’t say this often enough. It’s the little things that make the biggest moments. Tonight we went to a Thunder basketball game to celebtate my daughters birthday. I watched the surprise and joy on her face as she grabbed the shirt that had flown several feet through the air, and my heart was full. So many games, she tried to catch a shirt but luck was never in her favor. But tonight she held it proudly in the air as she told everyone around her, “It’s my birthday!” What an awesome moment. Tonight she was in the right place at the right time. There’s nothing better than seeing a smile on the face of someone you love.
There is a new teacher that has been having a difficult time controlling her class. She was a special education teacher in elementary school and is now teaching 8th grade Spanish. She has sent numerous emails and phone calls to parents begging for their help when it comes to their kids behavior. Luckily for me, my child is one who always gets a good report and for that I am truly grateful. Yesterday she sent an email telling the parents how well the kids behaved and how much they were able to accomplish in class. She mentioned it was her best day of teaching all year and little did the kids know it was also her birthday. When I read the email to my son and thanked him for always being respectful, he mentioned he would like to bring donuts in to celebrate her birthday. So today, I delivered donuts and she was very appreciative. Do something nice for someone just because. Life can be so hard and filled with endless struggles but even a simple little sugar filled donut can make all the difference in somebody’s day.
Do you ever stop and wonder how different your life could be? Today we celebrate my husbands 51st birthday. I can’t help but pause and think how different my life would be without him in my world. Our lives can take so many different twists and turns. There are so many different decisions we could have made, different roads we might have taken but right now I am grateful for where I am standing. The ride hasn’t always been perfect or comfortable but I can honestly say I have a wonderful life. As we threw the ingredients into the bowl and finally poured that cake batter into the pan, I was just about to call my son out for the remnants of chocolate on his face when I felt a little drip from my own. Yes, like is good and we are exactly where we’re meant to be. Take time to enjoy the journey, especially if you get lost along the way.
12 years ago I was a given a gift. I was given the opportunity to raise and love a son. Secretly, I had hoped that he would be a girl. I already had one of those, so another one would be a cinch. But a boy, what in the world would I do with him?
It didn’t take long for his playful personality and belly laugh to completely kidnap my whole heart. He was easy going and he went with the flow while his new life mostly revolved around his sisters schedule. He played so hard he would pass out for hours and would wake with a beautiful smile on his chubby little face.
I’ve always known there was something very special about him. He is different from many other boys. He will never meet the tough, macho stereotype, for it is his heart that is his biggest and best feature. He is caring and he pays attention enough to notice the little details. He tells me to have a nice day every morning when I drop him off at school. Every time he hears me upset, he is the first one to ask if I’m alright. He is tender and emotional and he feels things deeper than most. He is a lover and a fixer and never too proud to say he is sorry. He has written me beautiful words that I will cherish until the end of time. He is silly and playful and probably more immature than he needs to be. Never in a hurry to grow up and never in a hurry to get anywhere really. He takes each moment as it comes and doesn’t give more thought to anything more than he actually needs to. He knows struggle. He knows how to put in the extra work just to play on a team. He has put ridiculous amounts of hard work in to finally beat his struggles in school. He has an impressive attitude and even when things seem hopeless, he never gives up. Even when people don’t notice he exists, he tries evens harder than if they were looking. He likes to please and when someone takes a moment to point out something good, his growth in self confidence is beyond something that could ever be measured. He’s been passed over and pushed aside while he secretly waits for a little attention, he is my quiet little warrior with a great big beautiful spirit who never, ever gives up. He is playful and goofy and the sound of his laugh still warms my heart that has grown bigger and softer from having him around. One thing is for sure. He loves his mom. And you know what? There’s no doubt how much she loves him too.
Happy birthday little buddy. I can’t wait to watch you enjoy life as a 12 year old. It’s hard to believe in a short year, you too will be a teen.
Where did all the years go? It seems like yesterday he was a sweet little baby laying in my arms. This year I watched him confidently walk into middle school. My little guy with freckles and blond reddish hair. He has grown in ways that make me proud. The effort and the growth that has paved a path in front of each new accomplishment amazes me every day. He is perfect just the way he is now. I pray that life never changes the smile on his face and that it is the smile on his face and in his heart, that not only changes the world but also makes it a better place.
Where does the time go? What did I miss while I was looking away? One day I was holding this tiny baby boy in my arms and in the blink of an eye I woke up and he was already 11. I can’t help but wonder who he will be in this world. He is smart and kind and takes the time to make others feel important. I love how he yells, “have a great day mom!” as he walks out the front door. I love the way he asks if I’m okay when he sees me walk into the chair. I love the way he extends has hand to help a kid from another team off the floor in the middle of a basketball game. I love that he notices the little things like a new flower blooming in the sun or a penny all alone in the middle of a parking lot. I love that he drags the garbage can up the steep driveway every Monday without being asked. I am so proud of him and so blessed to have raised such a sweet young man. I wonder if he knows how proud I am about the things that really matter. The little notes, the lingering hugs, the way he looks back at the car and waves at least 5 times as he walks into school. I love how he apologizes when he knows he’s done something wrong. I have slowed life down as much as I can these last few months. I am trying my best to be in each moment and bottle them up, to embed them in my mind so they will always be there in the years ahead. I feel like I missed some of the details rushing around from here to there. I have taken my life back. At the end of the day, what is more important than being in each moment with the people you love. I sometimes wish I could stop time. There are some moments that you just wish you could freeze. This day, the day my baby boy was born is one of those days. I wish we could linger here for awhile, age 11, watching him become a young man in between moments of just plain silliness. I love his spirit..It is so big and full of love it could fill the tallest skyscraper. His laughter is so deep and heartfelt it could make even the most miserable chuckle along with him. He is contagious and his playful spirit brings happiness and smiles to everyone who crosses his path. Happy birthday sweet boy! I hope you never change, because you really are perfect just the way you are…