Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy 16th Birthday to the Teen

Sixteen years ago today, I became a mother.

I  was a 26 year old doctoral student living far away from my family.  I had been married 13 months.

In so many ways, you and I grew up together.

You have been the recipient of my fiercest devotion and my fiercest criticism.  The blessing and the curse of the firstborn, you had my undivided attention and I knew how intelligent you were.  I expected a lot from you, and also from myself.  We fought bitterly over those expectations and we still bear the scars of them. 

Had I to do it over, I would have enjoyed you more and pushed you less.  You didn't need me to push you to be brilliant - you had that in you all along, and you still do.  Maybe all the energy you put into pushing back would have been better invested into something more enjoyable.  I regret that for so many years, you felt like nothing you ever did was good enough for me.  Hopefully you know by now that nothing I ever did was good enough for me either.  We grew up together, you and I.

They say that our relationships with others reflect our relationship with ourselves.  Never has that been more true than for you and me.  I'm glad we've begun to move into a more accepting, more enlightened place with each other and with ourselves.  I'm just sorry it took so long.

Today you're sixteen and a young man.  You have already left the nest in so many ways, and despite all of our worries, you're doing okay.  You're going to be just fine, and I want it to go on record that if it's good enough for you, it's good enough for me.  I love you and value you for the unique person you are, whether you do Great Things with your life, or Ordinary Things.

Most of all, I want you to love and accept yourself and be happy and loving and accepting of others.  I hope I've been a better example of that in these last few years.   

We haven't stopped growing up together.

I love you as much today as I did that day sixteen years ago when they put you in my arms and you changed my life forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aw. Sniff. Happy Birthday to the intrepid first-born.