“Twenty years is, after all, a long time. We are not the same people we were. Old friends, lovers, even family members; they are strangers who happen to wear a familiar face. We have no right to claim to know anyone after such a distance …” – Graham Joyce from Some Kind of Fairy Tale
But I do know my son. There has been no distance.
I’ve had some people say to me, “Let him grow up!” As if I haven’t been. Or, “Get your own life” as if I haven’t had one.
Yet, if they found themselves before someone who was suddenly without their partner after 18 years of a constant shared life – would those be the same sentiments offered? “Let them go!” “Get your own life now!”
I would hope not.
Even someone who just lost their pet after so much time would be treated kinder than that.
I know I am not losing my son – but this is the beginning of the end of how things have been for many, many years. And before long, I won’t have the right to say I know him. Not the way I do now.
And that’s as it should be. I know this. I am not stupid.
He was never mine, after all, I merely had the honor of raising him for the world.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I can with utmost certainty look back at my life and my son will never have been one of them.
It has just been he and I for most of these 18 years. And he was my life. Shouldn’t a child be a parents number one priority?
Not putting myself first led me to a happier heart and a wiser soul. I’ll never understand why some children are born into the world to be tolerated and not adored.
Nic was my purpose. And being his mom is my pleasure, not some thief of my own time.
From the moment I felt him kick and hiccup – I loved my baby. I did not want to know the sex. Upon hearing “It’s a son” in the hospital room, March 31st, 1995, I became Nicholas Avery Charles’ mother.
What an amazing experience it’s been!
I remember when I was little wanting to be an archeologist – perhaps a teacher – a writer – a rock star? My interests changed as I grew, but the one constant was knowing I wanted to be somebody’s mom.
This is so hard! My sixth attempt at this post. I haven’t been able to find the right words!
I so wanted this to be the post I look back on as my best. I am writing this to the most important person in my life after all.
I tried just typing, but got so caught up in memories I couldn’t do them justice.
Weighed the options of humor or taking the mushy route and waxing poetic …
Then while reading, the quote I opened with sent me back to the computer.
So, let’s begin.
Nicholas Avery Charles – today you are 18.
You’re on the precipice of something great. You’ll make your way and your own decisions – but you’ll never be alone. I will always be here for you.
I will never stop being your mom.
Never stop wishing the best for you.
Never stop supporting your dreams and goals.
I love you so very much bird.
I’ll try really hard NOT to use the following sentence: “If you want to be treated like an adult, you had better start acting like one!” I hated that.
You don’t suddenly go to bed 17, liking video games, anime and being catered to then wake up 18 with brand new interests and a sudden overnight maturity.
I want to tell you Thank you. Because what you’ve given me just by existing is the largest love I’ve ever known and the most educational experience I’ve ever had, and the strongest bond I’ve ever had with another human being.
Thank you for being my memories, my todays and my hope for the future. I look at you and know that the world will be just fine with people like you in it.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your teens – it’s so odd isn’t it? Technically an adult, still a teenager. It’s hard to know what is expected of you. Well, I personally expect nothing of you. You are right where you are supposed to be, being just who you are meant to be.
There is no right way to be 18.
Make some memories, dream and try not to do anything you’ll wish you could erase upon looking back.
Listen to your heart.
Expand your mind.
Have compassion and try not to judge.
Smile and know, you are enough.
Because you are – and you always have been.
And hey … 1,2,3’s and I know you’re not 15 … but I hear this song and think of you. Love you so very very very very much. – Mom. xxxxx