I thought I was raising children...

I thought I was raising children...

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Letter to My Son on His 17th Birthday

My Darling Boy,

First of all, I hope you know: I am so proud to be your mom. I am certain that I am just as proud to the be the mother of 17 year old Boyo as I am of 3 year old Boyo.

My three year old son is my guy - my sweet, funny, smart, I'm-gonna-make-you-want-to-slam-your-head-into-the-wall-at-least-once-a-day-guy. I hope my 17 year old son is the same way.

Right now, you are frustrating and fun. Every day brings at least one temper tantrum. And one "I no want you!" And one fight with your sister. But every day also brings at least one sweet hug, where you run up to me, give me a hug, smile up at me with your angel smile, and then run away. The entire process takes two seconds. But my heart melts into Momma goo every time. And every day brings at least one "I lob you." And at least one kiss on my hand. And at least one "Come snuggle wid me, Mom." And every day brings a lot of giggles.

You marvel me. I want you to know that - you are a marvel. Watching you learn about the world, watching your sense of wonder - you are so inspiring and amazing. You can't sit still for a five minute story, but you will lie on the ground to watch a trail of ants for an hour if I let you. You answer every question with "I don know!" followed by the incessent: "Why?"

I marvel at your curiousity, at your imagination, at your sense of wonder. You make me do things I forgot I knew how to do. You make me see. You make me see the butterflies dancing in the air, the lizard in the bush, and the white clouds overhead. You make me stop rushing through life and enjoy it. You make me wonder and question and love more deeply than I ever thought possible. Thank you for that.

You are 17 now - life is coming at you hard. So be kind to your sisters. They will be with you a lot longer than I will. Protect them. Your father and I are going to make damn sure all of you can take care of yourselves, but there is something to be said for having a sibling who will fight your battles for you when you are tired. Fight their battles on occassion, and they will return the favor. Let them.

What else can I tell 17 year old you? Go out with your friends. Be stupid. Be 17. And know when to walk away. If you are drinking, call me. Don't drive; I'll come get you. And I'll try not to judge (i.e., yell) until you're sober. If you get arrested, call your father.

Work hard in everything you do. Question. Learn. Get involved in something. If you play sports, play hard. And know that it's okay if you are not the best. And if you are the best, don't be an ass to those who aren't. Help them be better - it will make you better. And, this is important, if you don't play sports, know that you are not less of a man for it. Pay attention to what is going on around you. The world is bigger than you.

Who you are now is not who you were when you were three and it is not who you are going to be in another 14 years. Believe in yourself - remember that you are the driving force behind the person you will become. The choices you make with your life matter - now is the time to start thinking about what is important to you. I'm not saying you have to figure out your life at 17 (please God, no) but you should start thinking about what you want out of life. And know that if you don't like who you are becoming, you can change your direction. Change is inevitable. Be brave enough to change.

Life is scary, and at times it is alternately going to make you gloriously happy, furiously angry, and depressingly sad. And that is okay. It's okay to be happy. It's okay to be mad. It's okay to be sad. And it's okay to be scared. Just don't let being scared, or mad, or sad stop you from being happy.

Happy Birthday, my son. I hope you know you can talk to me about anything.

I love you,


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