I remember the first time we met face to face, 25 years ago.  Before that we’d been communicating internally 24/7 for the longest 9 months of my life.  The last week was the toughest, being hospitalized with pre-eclampsia waiting for the pending birth.  Even with two Pitocin jump starts, it didn’t happen.  Six days later an emergency cesarean was performed.  When I finally got to see him, I was in awe of this tiny creature that I grew in my stomach, especially since I can’t even keep a plant alive.  I looked at him and said “So you’re the one who’s been kicking me in the stomach all this time.  Hi, I’m mommy.”  He never woke up as I professed my love and intention of giving him the best life I could offer.   He still didn’t wake up as I smothered him in kisses drinking in the new baby smell that I just couldn’t get enough of.  He did however, wake up screaming when he wanted to eat.  Fantasy over, reality kicks in and right off the bat he wouldn’t nurse.  Screaming at the top of his little lungs, the doctor doing rounds poked his head in my room and joked “he must be an ass man”, which I didn’t find funny as the shreeking shrill of my newborn filled the hospital hallway.  He’s been a fussy eater ever since.

No one can ever predict the fate of their child.  As parents, we do the best we can in guiding, directing and teaching them to grow up and be well-rounded adults.  In a perfect world, both parents take turns in the teaching process and with luck and skill the child learns the best from both.  Then real life sets in and determines what you’ll really be teaching your child, by example.  No matter what you tell  them, it’s what you do that they focus on and learn from.  He was just a year old when his dad and I separated and barely two when we divorced.  I had a long road ahead of me but I was up for the challenge with my little shadow beside me.  I contoured my entire life around him, dating only every other weekend when he was with his dad.  We were (are) tight and the bond just got tighter through the years.  It’s still the deepest love I’ve ever known.

Fast forward 25 years later…

I used to think I was lucky to have such a great kid.  I never had a single problem with Jeff regarding police, school, parents, kids, etc.  Never.  He’s always been focussed, excelled in school and sports and highly respected by his peers, adults, coaches, teachers, neighbors and his family.   There were no pre-martial pregnancies, drunken stupers, drugs, fights, thefts, etc.  He’s always been honest, respectful, helpful and kind.  I trusted him and believed in him, and I still do. 

Then one day it hit me.  I wasn’t lucky… hell no, I did this!  I spent the last 25 years as a strict single parent making sure my son was guided down a path that would surely turn him into an honest, successful, ‘good’ adult, and it paid off.  I couldn’t be any prouder of him.  He’s exactly the young man any parent would like to see their daughter bring home.  He’s well-respected, highly intelligent and successful in life.  Graduating with honors from college, he now works full-time and spends his free time playing in three basketball leagues and hanging out with friends.

We celebrated his birthday Friday night.  I bought him a 46″ Samsung Smart TV.  This thing does everything and he was delighted.  I had made him a birthday cake earlier in the week and stashed it in the freezer.  I brought it out after his birthday dinner.  Today is his actual birthday and I gave him a few small gifts to open.  I presented him with the very last piece of his childhood puzzle; the bonds he received at his Christening.  They mature today, 25 years later.  He’s a full-grown man and he’s talking about getting his own place now that he’s financially secure.  I saw him light up when he got a special phone call this morning.  I think that was the best gift he could have ever gotten. 

Just as I altered my life when he was born, I’ll alter my life again as he prepares to leave the nest.  It’s been the best 25 years of my life. 

I look forward to see what’s in store for the next 25 years.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! 

Love you!

25 bday cake