I’m quite certain this post will embarrass him, but I’m going to take a few moments to love on him anyway. There was a time 6 or so years ago that I started to feel more private about sharing his day to day stories. Teenagers need that trust that everything they say and do won’t be put out for the public consumption. So I opted to filter a bit and not share as much as I do about the little kids. Part of me misses the documentation of his every day, but I know that our relationship is better because we have that trust between us. Today though, I’m feeling a bit mushy and emotional, because my first baby turned 18. There’s something profound about your baby coming of age. This kid, I’m proud of him and I wrote a letter to my son on his 18th birthday to tell him so….
Today is a big day, you turn 18. This day, years ago when you were born, felt like a goal line way off in the distance. Today, you are no longer a child, but a man. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, given 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. In many ways, we’ve grown up together. I was 21 and scared when I had you, but I was also young enough that I didn’t really know or fully understand just what a huge impact becoming a mother would have on my life until the moment it happened. In that moment you were born, I looked at you and you took my breath away. How could I love someone so much that I’d just met? After everyone else had gone home on the day you were born, I stayed up all night, marveling over you. I counted your fingers and toes, kissed your cheeks and told you all about the people who love you and all the things I wanted to teach you. I couldn’t believe that you were mine.
Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime filled with unconditional love, laughter, joy, fear, frustration, and tears for both of us. I’ve worried about so many things, if I was doing what was best for you, do you know everything we were supposed to instill in you? Did I pray for you enough? Hug you enough? Say how proud I am of 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….do you know who the Beatles and Elvis are? Can you balance a checkbook, file taxes or change a tire? Will you know that laughter and forgiveness in a marriage are sometimes as important as love? I worry about these things. But the reality is, that when I look up at your 6’2” frame, I see a man I am so very proud of. I see man of God. A man who seeks God and loves God and wants to glorify God. Being a man of faith means being humble, having character, compassion, courage, loyalty. I see all of those things in you. Your values may not always be popular, but stand by them, there’s honor and respect for those who stand up for what they believe in.
Always speak your truth. You have a wonderful heart. It’s a good thing to be selfless, to listen, really listen, to others out there in the world. Those who listen will find real beauty. Seek patience, explain anger instead of acting on it. Apologize when you are wrong. Hug those you love often. Keep your promises. Work hard. Love fully. Men who love with all they have and put pride and fear aside find great joy in the kingdom of God. I pray for you every day Tyler. I’ve carried this cross (his gift was a cross on a chain with Proverbs 3:6 engraved on the back) with me for one year and asked the Lord to lead you to salvation (and He did!). I’ve asked Him to help you grow in grace, love, honesty, integrity. I’ve asked Him to bring you closer to His word, so that you will crave His word on the good days and the bad. Seek justice and mercy in a sometimes cruel world. I’ve prayed that you have respect for yourself and others. That you would have courage, kindness and generosity. I’ve prayed and asked for your life to be filled with great joy and perseverance. That you would have compassion and empathy for others. That you will be content with all that God blesses you with. I’ve prayed that you would have a servant’s heart and a passion for God.
18 years ago, today felt like the goal, but now that we’ve reached it together, I know that motherhood doesn’t stop here. I will continue to be an ear when you need one, a shoulder to lean on and a powerful source of prayer for you. I am always praying for you, son. I am so thankful to God for entrusting me with your life, your childhood, your heart. Those worries of teaching you right from wrong and all the necessary skills for life are important, but my biggest job as your mom has been to direct you back to Him. My hope is that you will seek Him in all the days of your adult life. Through beauty and pain, tears and joy, beginnings and endings. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. ~Proverbs 3:6
I’m so proud of you Ty.