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Reflections on My Son's 25th Birthday

Updated on October 15, 2012

Moments in Time

It's Been a Great Ride!

At 4:18 a.m. on Oct. 15, 1987, I was blessed with a wonderful gift. My son was our third child and our only son. Today, my son turned 25 years old. I turned 25 about eight months after my oldest child was born. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since my son's birth and even harder to believe that he's the same age now that I was when his sister was born.

People tell you a lot of things about what being a parent is like when you're pregnant. But nobody can prepare you for the feeling of joy that overwhelms you at the birth of a child. Nor can they prepare you for the other overwhelming emotions that accompany being a parent. The joy and the sorrow, the tears and the laughter, the happiness and the difficulties, the days of fun and the sleepless nights, the living in the moment and the planning ahead are all parts of the journey of motherhood.

Those who say that raising boys and raising girls are about the same have not had the same experiences I did. My son was different from his sisters almost from birth. He wasn't raised by one mom but by a mom and two wanna-be-moms, his older sisters. They fawned over him and made him laugh, read to him and dressed him up, held him and fed him bottles, looked after him and taught him all manner of things, both good and not so good.

As Jack grew, he loved balls and cars. I know it sound cliche, but that's the kind of kid he was. Jack was an easy-going boy who loved being outdoors. I don't think of myself as a helicopter mom but I was there for all of Jack's activities, involved in sports and school, in scouts and church activities.

Jack was all about sports as a kid, playing every sport that he could. T-ball, baseball, football, basketball, soccer, kickball and even volleyball were his sports. He was very athletic and was always a help to the team. I served as coach, team mom, scorekeeper and transporter of kids to various games at numerous locations, both near and far away.

When you're a hands-on mom, it's tough to step back as your kids get older, at least it was for me. I stayed involved through Jack's school years and beyond, attending all of his games and events. I always told him I was his number one fan, watching football games in the cold rain, sitting on cold bleachers outside for baseball, soccer and football, on hard bleachers indoors for basketball and volleyball, and standing inside for his year-round soccer games. It was a rule in high school that I always called out, "That's my boy!" at least once in each game.

Memories flit through my mind as I drift back in time. A little baby boy laid in my arms, a toddler learning to walk and then loving to run, a curly-haired boy going off to preschool, a little man on the way to kindergarten. Later a boy determined to ride a bike with no training wheels, a boy focused on stopping the ball in goal, a boy sliding into home plate. Even later a young man in love for the first time, a young many playing in band, a young man dealing with the unfairness of life, a young man who would do anything for a friend, a young man determined to make a difference in life.

How quickly the years fly by. It's true, everything the older women tell you when you have a screaming toddler throwing a tantrum in the store. It does go by faster than you think it will. You do miss it when it's gone. You do only have one chance. You will cherish the memories forever. Most of all -- that little child will grow up.

Unlike daughters, who often remain close emotionally to their moms, sons often push moms away. It doesn't seem to make much difference if you have been ultra-involved or not involved at all. At some point, sons want and need a dad to fill the parenting role. That's easy when you're married to the dad but not as easy when you're divorced as I was.

But, in the end, the job of a parent includes letting go. A mom who does a good job works herself out of a job. Kids grow up and move on, reaching toward the new life that stretches endlessly ahead of them. It's the way of the world, the circle of life. Life marches forward, waiting for no man, not even for a mom who wants it to slow down.

Like a roller coaster at a fair, motherhood is filled with ups and downs. The ups are incredibly high and sometimes the downs almost kill you. But, through it all, you march forward with life, accepting your new role, whatever it may be. You may be allowed a little slice of your child's new life or you may be pushed to the side to make way for other people.

It's been a great ride, not that it's over yet. The 25 years have been filled with memories, many just ordinary moments in life but all too precious to forget. The sweet smell of my baby boy, the long chain of Hot Wheels cars, the carrot tooth, the afternoons practicing ball in the yard, the target boy, the boy who invited the world to his birthday party, the snacks and treats, the homework and practices, the soccer fields, the cap and gown, the move-in days at college, the trips to Wal-Mart, and the march down the aisle at college. They are all little moments in life, tiny slices of my life with this little baby boy who grew up and became a man. 25 years of memories crammed into the crevices of my heart, endless images of the young man I'm proud to call my son.

I read it to you when you were young and I still feel it today. "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as you're living, my baby you'll be." With all of my love, Mom

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