My oldest son is turning 20 next week.
I can't get my head around that. When they were younger and the birthdays and milestones came, it just meant another party, another year of fun stuff we would do together and another long year of growing together.
When they got to be teenagers, I found that every birthday brought more independence, a stronger desire to try things on their own and while they still loved mommy, they didn't need her anywhere near as much as they did even the year before.
I celebrate birthdays for the kids, I love the people they are choosing to become and I celebrate their being able to spread their wings and fly.
But I am a mama bird by nature.
I am a nest-tender.
This flying away, while natural and good is difficult for me.
I had always imagined it would be easier.
I am supremely proud of my son, even though he is still trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do on his terms, he is a loving son who shows that love to his family. He is a young man with very strong moral convictions, and while we may not have the exact same set of values and definition of that, he has the confidence to know that he can and should choose to follow his own heart, to listen to the melody within his soul.
I worry about him constantly, but I worry about the child who is asleep in the room next to mine as well. I am a worrier. I wish he would move back home, come back to the nest, but that's not really the way it works, is it?
So...20 years have nearly passed since I first heard the words "It's a boy! and I thought to myself "Did this really just happen? Do I really have a son? I have a son and nothing will ever be the same now. I will always love him."
I meant that and as more years pass, I am sure we will face bigger challenges than just growing up and spreading your wings, but my love for my Parker will always remain unconditional and he will always - no matter how old he is- be the little boy that I built my first nest for and I will forever be so thankful for the day he was born, for the dumb luck I have in getting to be his Mom.
I wish you were here this year, Kid.
Being apart is hard for your Mommy.
I love you, Parker Tate and I always will.