Tag Archives: son

A Letter to My Son on his 18th Birthday


Dear Son,

Today you turn 18. They haven’t invented a word yet that even begins to describe the rush of emotions coming at me right now. Pride, confusion, joy, nostalgia, excitement, fear … the list is a long one … and counting.

Pardon the cliché but it really does seem like only yesterday that your dad and I were bringing you home from the hospital and adjusting to life with a (very colicky) new baby who would change our perspective on everything from nutrition and hobbies to politics and personal relationships. My primary goal from that day forward was to make your world as happy, healthy and safe as I could.

It’s crazy how much has changed since you were born. Back then, people were still rewinding VHS videotapes from Blockbuster, logging onto the internet with dial-up service and worrying about Y2K. Advanced “technology” enabled us to print out written directions from one destination to another to take in the car with us thanks to MapQuest. And Britney Spears was just dropping her first single.

So I guess you’re not a baby anymore. But you will always be my baby, my child, my son. And, for that reason, I wanted to take a moment to share a few pearls of wisdom with you on this momentous occasion in your life. (Notice I didn’t call them diamonds. I’ll save those for your 21st birthday.)

  1. Be you … and don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing. You’re moving through life at your own pace and you have years … decades ahead of you to see all of the places you want to see and do all of the things you want to do in life. There will always be someone who appears to have it all in the palm of his hand. But chances are … another someone is looking at you from afar thinking the exact same thing.
  2. Social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s a powerful tool that can be used in many positive ways, but it can also end friendships, ruin opportunities and change lives forever. Remember that what you see there is all highlight reels and bragging rights. Nobody ever shares when they stay home one night to prepare for an Econ exam or clean out the closet … but, believe me, everyone does these things.
  3. Choose your life’s path carefully. Once you’re in college, the last thing that should determine your career choice is length of curriculum. Trust your mother, a journalism major, on this one. You’re at an age when you feel like you want your life to start as quickly as possible. But a fast-earned, throw-away degree just doesn’t cut it anymore and it won’t carry you nearly as far as a more professional choice that will support not only your hopes and dreams of today but those of your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.
  4. Beauty is skin deep. As you navigate through life dating different girls, remember that a pretty face is only part of the package. Keep searching until you find someone who is also kind, intelligent, witty and like-minded with your interests and opinions. Oh, and remember, she needs to measure up to my standards for you. And I’ll warn you in advance. That’s not going to be easy.
  5. Family is forever. Sure, we all drive each other crazy sometimes. I think somewhere that’s actually one of the published definitions of family. But the thing with family is … we’re always, always here for you. The door is always open, both literally and metaphorically. There’s always a place at the dinner table, a spot on the sofa, a gift under the Christmas tree, a slice of the birthday cake, an extra ticket to the basketball game, a burger on the grill, room on the vacation or just an ear waiting to listen to you at this house. Please remember that as you finish up your last year of high school and plan to head off to college next year.

In short, I love you … more than any letter could ever express. My life changed for the better the day you were born and, since that day, I’ve been trying to do the same for you.

And I will never … ever stop.




Because how could I not use Bear in the Big Blue House to commemorate this occasion?









Happy (Gulp) 17th Birthday to My Son

The year was 1999.

Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France title.

The euro was established as the standardized currency unit across the nations of Europe. (Nearly two decades later, Great Britain still embraces the pound. As well as tepid beer. But that’s beside the point.)

The world braced itself for the perceived technological apocalypse known as Y2K.

Advancements like Bluetooth, MySpace and Napster were just being introduced. (Also known as a means of confusing people everywhere as to whom you’re speaking, slacking off at work and, well, stealing.)

Groundbreaking shows like Friends, Frasier, ER and The X-Files were still producing and airing original episodes on prime-time television.

Moviegoers were lining up to see the highly-anticipated Stars Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace as well as blockbusters like The Sixth Sense, American Beauty and American Pie. (I only saw the last three. Unapologetically. That may never change, Dean.)

And YOU … you made me a mom … changing my life forever when you were born on October 16, 1999.

I just can’t believe you’re 17 today, Dean.

I still remember your first words and your first steps … yes, they came in that order. You did it opposite of everyone else in the world. You could speak full sentences but opted to be carried through life just a little bit longer. (Personally, I thought it was a sign of brilliance.)

You were a great eater, but you were a terrible sleeper. (I guess some things never change.) You had a belly laugh that people couldn’t help themselves but join. Your favorite audience was your baby sister. You’d spend hours working to make her laugh. And inventing nonsensical nicknames for her. I honestly believe you tagged her with over a hundred of them. (Mrs. Baybo, to name only one.) Stay close to her, Dean. You mean more to her than words could ever say.

Your dedication to your studies, your family and friends, your pet and your need to just be a good person are humbling for your dad and me to watch as your parents. Somewhere along the line, we know we obviously did something right. Thank you for that, Dean.

Stay the course. You are poised for greatness in the world. Everyone around you seems to know that except you. As much as it truly pains me to watch you grow older and slowly distance yourself from your childhood, I relish the opportunity to watch you develop into the amazing adult I am certain you’ll be.

I know I drive you crazy sometimes. The feeling is mutual, my boy. That’s all part of growing up. For both of us. The important thing is that you know your dad and I are always and forever here for you. If you ever need anything at all … day or night … near or far … sane or insane, all you have to do is pick up the phone. Or whatever the communication method of the future will be. We’ll learn how to use it. For you and your sister.

I love you, Dean.

Happy 17th Birthday!!!

Past birthday posts about Dean:

A Letter to My Son on His 16th Birthday

15 Reasons I Love My Son (on his 15th Birthday)

Happy Birthday, Dean

Happy Birthday to the One Who Made Me a Mom

Thanks, NFL, for enlightening my son …  but I’m taking some of the credit, too


Let’s take a minute to talk about my boy

I’ve been reminded a few times that I haven’t written nearly as much about my boy as I have about my girl. Yes, I have two kids. Two. Great. Kids. And I’m blessed that I get the opportunity to experience being a mom to a daughter as well as to a son. My girl is easy to write about. She is and has always been a character. She’s a wear-one-side-of-her-hair-in-a-pigtail-and-the-other-in-a-braid kind of girl. All while sporting a red cape. At the grocery store. On roller skates. Honestly, this stuff writes itself. Except when she actually submits it to me personally for the blog. Easy.

My son is different. Maybe it’s because he’s a boy. Maybe it’s because he’s 12. Maybe it’s because he’s a lot like his mom when she was his age. If everyone around him is wearing a red shirt with yellow stripes then that is so what he’s going to have on, too. He doesn’t want to draw attention or make a spectacle of himself. Unless, of course, it’s because he just scored the winning goal on his basketball team. I think he’d be perfectly comfortable with that.

He’s a truly amazing kid, and always has been. He could name the first fifteen presidents by (full) name in order when he was four. He has such an incredible memory that he can accurately and completely recount incidents from as far back as age two. (I am so screwed.) And that memory now translates to being able to rattle off the name, number, position, college, hometown, favorite snack, high school locker combination, etc. of every professional football and basketball player out there. With a special emphasis on the Saints and the Hornets, of course.

But beneath that we-should-have-put-him-on-Leno-as-a-kid quality memory (not to mention his killer performance in school) beats what I’ve always called his “heart of gold.” We even have an ornament on the Christmas tree illustrating this special trait. I offered a first glimpse of this endearing kid in an earlier post during Breast Cancer Awareness month.


My boy & his heart of gold

He’s a first child which, whether I want to admit it as a fellow oldest or not, means that sometimes you kind of think the world revolves around you. However close you are to your next sibling, there was a time in your life when you didn’t have to share anything and you, as they say, hung the moon. Actually, if you’re lucky, you still do with your parents. (Right, Mom?) And even when your sibling(s) comes along, you still get to be the first to do everything. You set the bar, however high or low, for all of those that come after you. I’d like to think I blazed a trail that was sometimes gravy, sometimes a straight uphill climb for my younger brother.

But back to my wonderful son …

I woke up today feeling like complete garbage. It was nothing really. I just have a bad cold that robbed me of a lot of sleep last night and, as of this morning, most of my voice. I’ll live. No need to send flowers or anything. But my boy was worried.

My husband was out of town this morning. And … before you make any plans to rob my house … he’s already returned so put away your lock-picking tools. (Geez! What kind of people do I think are reading this blog???) And, as the (little) man of the house, he took one look at me and said he wanted to help. He told me to go to my room and get dressed and said that he would handle breakfast. He made toast, poured drinks and took care of everything for himself as well as for his younger sister. He made sure she didn’t complain about the school lunch menu (which I very stupidly have posted on the refrigerator). I even heard him hustling her along to get to her toothbrushing, etc. as she was, I would imagine, moving at her usually slackened, early morning pace.

And the most astonishing part of it all was that it worked. He was in charge. She was listening. Nobody was yelling. It was, aside from the thick-headed effects of my seasonal maladies, a very smooth morning.

Like I said, my boy has a heart of gold. He, like so many of us, can be known to get caught up in himself … and big game days, his Xbox or whatever … when all systems are normal. But when the chips are down, he’s the man.

And, you know, I’m really kind of proud of that.