Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eighteen

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  Of course, I had other aspirations and dreams, but being a mother was always at the top of my list.

And then that day came, and I found out that I was, indeed, going to have a baby.  I was still so much a kid myself, and nowhere near mature enough for the emotional responsibility that I was undertaking.  But if nothing else, I was headstrong, maybe a little selfish, and refused to give up simply because someone thought I couldn't do it.

Each day of my pregnancy I felt more and more of my own childhood slipping away.  The more my belly grew (which admittedly wasn't much with this pregnancy), the more like an adult I felt until the moment I pushed my son out into the world.  I was someone's mother.  I was his mother.


They were right, you know.  It was incredibly hard, but so totally worth it.  Being a very young mom shaped me in ways that I'm not even sure how to put into words.  It was the single most defining moment of my life; and looking at what a wonderful young man he's grown into, I don't think I've done too bad a job.  It wasn't done alone though.I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and the wonderful man who decided to step up and take this journey with me.


Preparing for this birthday of the one who made me a mom has been more difficult than I would like to admit.  It's a major milestone.  My baby is no longer a child.  At eighteen, he's considered an adult; although in so many ways he is very much a child.


Dearest Andrew;


This birthday is a major milestone.  It marks the beginning of your adult years.  And while the numbers may reflect that legally you are a man, in my eyes you are and forever will be my little boy. I am so proud of the person you are growing in to.  And I admit that when people compliment your or comment on what a nice young man you are, my pride swells because I'd like to think that I've had something to do with that.  As much as you are your own individual man, as your mom I see you as a reflection of me.  I promise you that I'm working on only seeing you for the person that you are.  It's still so hard not to simply see my little boy who would have his bottle of chocolate milk with him everywhere he went.

We've grown up together, you and I.  I certainly haven't been a true adult the entire time that you've been in my life, but we figured it out together.  It's been a Hell of a roller coaster ride, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  


There are moments I catch myself just staring at you; from across the table, across the room, or simply out of the corner of my eye in the car.  I can't believe you've grown into such a smart, funny, and kind human being.  It feels like it happened over night.  I closed my eyes holding my sweet toddler, and when I opened them, a grown man stood before me.  You have given me so many great things to be proud of, but none greater than simply being my son.

It has been so much fun getting to know you.  The nights I spent rocking you and breathing in that new baby smell.  I wondered who you were going to be; what type of man you would be.

It turns out you are entirely different now than you were as a toddler.  You do things on your own time, and not when someone thinks you should.  You have a laugh that's infectious.  It's one of those deep, full laughs that makes my heart melt when I hear it.  You're so loving, and never one turn down a hug, even if it's from your mother in public.




And now with university in your near future, here's a bit of motherly advice.  Some I was told at your age, some I've picked up along the way -- all things I wish I had listened to at 18:

*  If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well (learned that from my grandma)
*  Never leave the house without wearing a clean pair of underwear
*  Manners, while seemingly small and insignificant, will carry you far in life.  The simple act                 of saying please and thank you, holding open a door for someone, or giving up your seat,
    speaks volumes about your character
*  Your parents are only a phone call away -- even if it's 3 am
*  Mistakes do not define us.  We all make them.  They are teachable moments.  Learn from
    them and move on.
*  Treat every young lady with the respect she deserves
*  Speak with confidence.  Not everyone will want to listen to a "kid", but educate yourself
    about your opinions, and don't be afraid to make your voice heard.
*  Sometimes you will be wrong.  Don't be too proud to admit when you are.
*  Look people in the eye and use a firm handshake
*  Those 8 am university classes may seem like a good idea when you're making your schedule.  I           promise they aren't.  Never take classes that early.
*  Never be afraid to ask for help.  A fool is the man who thinks he knows everything and refuses to       ask questions.
*  God gave us mouths that close and ears that don't.  Be a good listener.
*  The most important sex organ is your brain.....intelligence is sexy.
*  Face your problems head on.  Don't run away; they will just chase you.  Stand and deal.

And at the end of the day, don't forget to be awesome.

Love you forever;

Mom