Remember this moment. Try to slow down time and realize how spectacular it is. Breathe it in. Eat it for breakfast. (metaphorically, of course. Everyone knows you don’t eat breakfast). LIVE it.
I just read this passage, and thought how timely it was. And how much I love that we always send a highlight from a book to each other.
Try not to let this ‘grown up’ life move too fast. Try to be here now. Even for the tough stuff. Yes, this is where I remind you that misery gives happiness context.
Life is intense for you now. Your days kick your ass and you kick them right back. Big time. You’ve got this. All of it. And as I’ve watched you grow I stand in awe of the life you’ve built. It is a joy to watch you. I hope it is still a joy to BE you.
The 4th grade teacher called you a happy go lucky deep thinker. Still be that! connect with your inner ‘little Danny’.
Happy 3-0, Buckaroo. (Time to stop calling you that? Never!) May your next year be all you dream of.
25. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. WTH! Unclear how I am the mother of all those years. Lord knows I certainly don’t behave that way.
Which brings me to my son. Dan. Danny. Daniel. DLev. Buckaroo. Seriously, what 25 year old man tolerates being called Buckaroo? Even embraces it.
I rarely blog anymore. But my kids’ birthdays are sacred. And blogworthy. So here goes.
This guy. He has taught me so much more than I have taught him by now. Me? I keep hitting home the same lessons. What is your end game? Keep your eye on your own ball. Be true to who you are. Be all you can be and be careful. Have integrity every day. Always resolve conflict with the party you are conflicted with. The love of reading. Floss.
Him? He challenges me. He makes me better. He makes me think.
He taught me that you have to love people the way they need to be loved, not the way you want to love them. He DOES NOT like to be told what to do. In fact if I do, it is a guarantee he will do the opposite. He has taught me how to trust those you love to do the right thing. To believe that when you raised a child to be independent, that independence may come back to bite you in the ass (ok, not such a parental phrase, but go with it), but you are guaranteed to have a child that knows who they are. Always. Without a second thought.
But most of all, he has taught me about overcoming adversity. And shown me how incredibly strong a human can be when faced with a life(style) altering issue.
Here’s to you, DLev. I stand in awe of your strength. And your ability to find joy everywhere. All the time.
This guy! I adore pretty much everything about him (ok, except for mornings).
That sweet face on the right stares out at me from those big brown eyes, with a little hint of a smile that always said, hey, I really know who I am. I’ve got this. And there he is again on the left – over two decades later – same sort of expression, telling me that he will always be cool with it. Whatever ‘it’ is.
DLev. Baco boy. Oneida for life. Badger. The king of sucking it up and moving on. Always gives 100% and never complains. Sometimes to a fault.
I will refrain from the ‘my-little-boy-is-gone-my-son-is-perfect’ drivel and just simply say that if on this day in 1992 I could have written my hopes for who you would become, you have exceeded my expectations. You make me laugh, call me out, challenge me, make me think and most of all let me lean when I have to. (ok, a little bit of my-son-is-perfect, but it’s your birthday)
Raising you has been a joy, buckaroo. (oh, except for that incident with the inside of my windshield, but hey, this is not about embarrassing you ; ).
Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?
Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market).
That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.
I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.
Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.
While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:
It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.
Today marks the beginning of the last year I will have a teenager! That’s right, my boy is 19 today. I labored with this boy through my entire birthday and he was born at 1AM, leaving him to not have to share his special day. It is hard to believe that we have reached this stage already. I have always said that the first 5 years of their lives lasts an eternity and after that it flies by in the blink of an eye.
The picture above is from his 10th birthday. This photo is the essence of Danny. Even though he looks more like the photo below these days, his core being is captured in the little carefree face on this cake.
Here’s to you, my boy. You are patient, kind, analytical, funny, thoughtful, responsible, silly at times (ok and maybe a bit of an idiot at others, but aren’t we all) and oh such a joy to raise. Sometimes I wonder who is raising who. As you’re 4th grade teacher once said, “Danny is a happy go lucky deep thinker.”
I could not ask for a better son. I love you more than life itself. Have a blast for your birthday and for goodness sake, BE CAREFUL.
That was the question in the last dream I had before I woke up. And there I was lying in bed thinking of what a busy day I had today and how guilty I felt that I did not have time to go with him to ‘get his stuff’.
Until I realized that there was no stuff to get (we had surely ‘gotten’ more ‘stuff’ over the past 4 days than humanly possibly). AND there was no Danny.
Yes, kiddies, after a year of ‘lasts’ and goodbyes ad nauseum as each of his friends left for college, my boy finally left too. Taking pride in being a family that is not prone to drama we were about on our last nerve until the moving day finally came. It feels like he has been going for so long I wonder why I felt so shocked this morning that he was actually gone.
So here is the thing; it comes in waves. When you think you have totally got your shit together and you know your kid is ready – and frankly so are you(ish) – it grabs you around the chest and chokes you so can barely breathe. You know it is time for him to move on to start his LIFE (note the caps) and time for you to discover the next phase of yours. Of course you know all this!
And then there is that moment. Like the one in the Starbucks on State Street while I was ordering Shaken Iced Tea Lemonades and they had the nerve to play Cat Stevens Father and Son:
It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to go through…
And there was my boy, sitting in the dim light at the back of the Starbucks with the sunlight streaming in through the window shining an eery glow around his silhouette. There he was with his scruffy beard and his Allman Bros. t-shirt and I realized that I had no choice but to let him go… for real.
And yes, I did start to cry right then and there in the Starbucks on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. And no he was not all that happy with me but he did get it. Because he knew that by the end of the weekend when we left him and his sister, we would be leaving half our family halfway across the country. And there is simply nothing easy about that.
… Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.
One short year ago I wrote a post about my son getting his learner’s permit. Now, here I sit on the eve of his 17th birthday while he counts down the hours when he drives out of the driveway with NO ONE ELSE IN THE CAR.
No, really, I’m good. I am OK with this. He is a good driver and a responsible kid and I am perfectly fine with him operating 3,507 pounds of machinery down the block. (yes, I googled that).
Ok, so maybe when I dropped him off at school this morning and realized this was the last time I was EVER going to drive a kid to school I did sob just a little on my way home. So shoot me. I can lean toward the monumental moment overdrama lately. Let’s see how you all do when you are faced with that reality.
So, Danny boy, this post is for you. Congrats on holding out till you can legally drive (as if you had a choice). And happy happy 17th birthday. You will always be my little buddy. Love you forever.