Today the boy that handed me the title of “MOM” turns 21. This fact has me all tied up in knots because I have been reflecting on all of the 7,665 days that he has been in my life – not counting in my belly.
I have been trying to think of all that I need to convey to him, and the emotions that don’t have words but I somehow need to put them into words because he deserves to hear them.
This weekend I pulled out old photos and I had the weirdest reactions. Proud and happy were expected. Sadness and grief were not.
You see, I was just 18 years old when I had him, three years younger than he is now. I don’t really know life any different than being a mom, his mom, but I knew that what I did NOT want for him was the way I did things. My goal has always been to guide all of my boys enough not to have a child or get married at 18. I made mistakes in the choices I made when I was young, but I don’t regret *him*. I just never wanted my kids to make those types of choices because they last forever.
He is, and will always hold the title of, my first true love.
Maybe that is all I need to tell him?
He has been in my life longer than he has not.
While all three of the boys will likely hold the title for “OMG I am not going to survive this kid” at some point, I really did not think I was going to survive this one. He held that title for about four years, and while it was circumstantial and totally understandable, they were arguably the hardest years of my life.
I can’t blame him, he didn’t know how to navigate the anger he felt inside. But when he exploded he exploded at my house because he was “safe” with me. He took his anger out on me and at my house because he knew I would love and fight him no matter what he did.
And I did.
He raged. He put holes in many of the walls in my house. He tore his room apart on numerous occasions. My other two boys and I would literally sit in my room in a huddle afraid of what was going to happen when he raged.
He also didn’t talk. He literally stopped talking for almost a whole year. He wouldn’t make eye contact. He stopped doing his homework and I wondered whether he would ever graduate. He gave up. He was a super talented pitcher and was the starting pitcher for the varsity baseball team at school when he up and decided he was done. He was miserable. We were all miserable.
I cried myself to sleep at night because I was helpless. I was full of fear about his future because *this kid* was never going to have a normal future.
And then what seemed like the worst thing ever happened – he grabbed a knife and ran to his room threatening to commit suicide. I sent the other kids downstairs and tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn’t hand over the knife so I called 911.
This turns out to be one of the best things in the situation because no one could ignore his pain any longer. I went through mandatory therapy with him and he slowly began to talk again.
Fast forward six years and he is 21!
He moved out of the house on his own against my wishes when he was 19. Does that surprise anyone? What’s even funnier about this is that he now says that he wishes he wouldn’t have done it so soon. Life isn’t easy on your own. And? It is super expensive!
He isn’t even a shell of the person he was years ago. In fact, he is unrecognizable in many ways. I love that he fought his way out of the hell he was living in.
Living the struggles with him, I know just how exceptional his current life is right now. I would be super proud of who he has become without his past, but with his past it is even more incredible.
He is also the best big brother who is reasonable and has often played the middle man when my middle is acting all selfish and entitled, as he sometimes does.
Anyway, this is just one more way that I am writing it out. And one more way to share with you that NO MATTER what you go through with your kids, if you fight for their best interest it will all turn out okay. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be celebrating this kid’s 21st birthday, I would have laughed in your face because I did not know how he would ever make it out of the hell he lived.
But he did, and as I said yesterday, I know that everything happens for a reason. And I know that he chose me as his mom because I was the only one that could help him through his struggles so all of those nights of lost sleep were totally worth it.
I am the lucky one.