Today, I am writing a letter to my oldest (19 yr. old) son. This one is tougher, mostly because he might read it! It’s sometimes a little awkward to write something that I know someone will read. It’s hard to explain, but most of the time, I just write, not thinking that anyone is going to actually read it.
To my gorgeous son,
We have a special bond you and I; you taught me how to be a mom. I have written on this blog about the circumstances of your birth and I have never kept any secrets from you. You are well aware that I was just your age when I became a mom. It was not something that I was prepared for, and yet, you were the best thing that ever happened to me. Everything great that has happened to me since then, has been because of you.
I have doubted myself many times when it has come to you. I wonder if I am a good enough mom for you? I worry so much about the fact that you have not found your path; your passion yet. Is that because of me? Did I give you enough freedom? Did I give you too much? Was I guiding you or standing in your way? What mistakes did I make?
But then I look at you and listen to you and I wonder, how did I raise such a wonderful person? I have such conflicting emotions! One minute, I think, “hey, I did ok” and the next I’m worried that I’ve ruined your life! Where the heck does that come from??
When you were little, I was in awe of how quickly you would grow and learn new things. You used to sit at the table with me while I was studying and pretend to be studying too! Being a single mom, I tried very hard to be both parents for you – rough-housing and playing lego and at the same time being tender and snuggly with you whenever I could get away with it. You taught me how to truly love someone.
You are now a special young man that is not afraid to be loving and affectionate, yet can go out and play football and be a man, tough alongside the others. Yet, it always amazes me that even to this day, you still say, “I love you” or “I miss you” and you really don’t care who hears. I’ll never forget the night that I was lonely and sad when your dad was working away from home a lot and you came and sat beside me on the couch, put your arm around me and kept me company while I watched a “chick flick”! You were so sweet. You just knew how I was feeling and wanted to be there for me. The teenager hanging out with his mom!
You are so brilliant, yet your academics say the opposite. You can devour book after book and know every word from every movie. You pick up a new skill the instant you attempt it when you are interested in it! I am sorry that I didn’t find you a school that would challenge you and understand that you were not the cookie cutter kid that they expect. They (and me) let you eke by, unnoticed, unchallenged, just going through the motions to get the hell out of there. I am sorry. You have taught me that school isn’t everything – there are other “measures” of brilliance. I didn’t understand that until you.
You have always been a great friend for those lucky few who have taken the time over the years to get to know you. You have never been a follower, nor have you been a leader. You have found your own special niche of great people. You surround yourself with true friends; not the hollow, self-centered “popular” kids who are now finding out as adults that the world doesn’t revolve around them as it did in high school. I am so glad that you were not one of them. I am so thankful that you figured out a long time ago what true friendship means. I admire that you never seemed to worry about that; it was something I worried a lot about when I was a teenager and certainly never wanted for you. You taught me what true friendship is.
How can I help you find your passion? Everything you do, you do well. Everyone tells me all the time how you are “such a nice young man” – you are polite and attentive and hard working. Everyone says so and I know so.
I’m sorry that I’m in such a hurry for you to find your path. I thought I knew what my path was when I was your age. And it turned out that what I thought it was, wasn’t it at all! I need to let you be, let you find out on your own at your own speed. You are teaching me that you don’t have to be like me, you don’t have to make those same mistakes.
I am curious, even envious of you and your obvious contentment with your life. How do you do that? Aren’t you afraid? Don’t you wonder what life holds for you? Aren’t you anxious for it to begin?
Maybe I didn’t do such a bad job after all? Maybe you are teaching me that life is way too short to be worried about racing to the end! You are teaching me that it is ok to take your time, slowly, methodically, and find your way. You are teaching me to be happy with what each day brings.
You have found kindred spirits that care about you, even at such a young age. You absorb the world around you and don’t try to analyze every bit of it. You listen to everyone’s advice, smile, nod, yet still form your own opinion of that information; you don’t worry whether you should follow the advice or not.
Teach me how to be more like you. Teach me how to be as wise and happy as you are. Teach me that life is not a race to the end and that the possibilities are endless!
You are my inspiration, my teacher, my son. I love you.