18 years ago I went to bed early. I was 9months pregnant and didn’t sleep well so I ticked myself into the guest bedroom by myself.  

I didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl. I was waiting to be surprised. That night I lay there, in the dark, and thought about you. About me. About what life would be like after your birth day. I didn’t know that the very next morning I would find out. 

You burst into the world quickly. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pretty. My big moment of finding out if you were a boy or a girl didn’t happen. Instead you were whisked away quickly. It wasn’t until I heard a relived nurse say “he’s peeing” that I knew I had a baby boy. 

It seemed like an eternity before I saw you. Just as they were going to put you into my arms something happened. I heard,”code blue” and thought that some poor woman…..and then I didn’t think anything at all. The code was for me. 

Eventually I got to hold you. You looked like a little old man. You were precious. And I fell in love. Right then and right there. 

You became Colton Henry. My Colton Henry. 

And I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. We took you home from the hospital with me sitting on the back seat holding up your head. Your dad and I had purchased a toddler car seat. You didn’t even come up over the front facing protective arm that was meant to keep a toddler safe. I didn’t even know what a carrier was! It was December before I purchased one.

Our first outing it took me over an hour to get out of the house. I was so nervous about having everything that I would need that I forgot to open the gagrage door. Backed right thru it.

Our second outing I couldn’t figure out how to collapse the stroller and had to shove it, fully upright, into the cargo area of the SUV. 

I was a disaster. I tried breastfeeding and failed. I swore you wouldn’t have a pacifier. You showed me. You didn’t have one—you had to have 3! You wet me more then your diapers. You had colic so we spent many an evening on the front porch with both of us crying. 

I was horrible at the whole mommy thing. But I tried. 

Oh how I loved you!  I adored You with your soft little fuzzy head, little unturned nose and that smirk you had, even then. 

Soon you were taking steps… then you were running…and I’ve been chasing you ever since. That’s how it works…from the moment you were born you’ve been growing and walking and learning…all to make your way in the world. And I’ve been chasing you. 

And now you are 18. And I am still chasing and you it seems, are running harder and harder to get away. Out into the world. So anxious to do and be and have all that there is to have. And I want 5 more minutes to be sure I’ve done all I can do to prepare you for the world you so desperately want to conquer. But you don’t want to wait. And to-marn-no (how you used to say tomorrow) you think it’s magically going to happen…this adult thing. 

Here are some things that I don’t think you’ve gotten yet:

  1. Work first and play second.
  2. Save 1/3 of what you earn. 
  3. Be happy with what you have.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others. 
  5. Don’t let what you want taint what you have. 
  6. Privileges require responsibility. 
  7. You should own, and wear, khakis, dress shoes, a good belt and a blazer. 
  8. Fold your clothes as soon as the dryer is done. 
  9. Believe you can and you are 1/2 way there. 
  10. You can always come home. Your 3 biggest fans will always be there. 

You laugh at me when I say these things, having heard them so often, but take the words and the lessons with you wherever you go.

  1. A good man does the right thing even when no one is looking. 
  2. Mean what you say and say what you mean.
  3. It’s the principle…
  4. Keep dreaming!
  5. Always make the best of every situation.
  6. Life won’t go as planned…so sometimes you have to change plans.
  7. Home is wherever your family is. 
  8. Fair is a 4 letter word and if you are always waiting for fair you will be disappointed. 
  9. Work hard. Work harder than you play. 
  10. Love someone who makes you a better person. 

It may be your birthday but 18 years ago I am the one that got the gift. 18 years ago you made my life complete. You made me a mommy. And of all that I’ve done and all that I will ever do-that is what I am most proud of. Being a mom. Being YOUR mom. You taught me what love is. 

My fella, my sweet, sweet fella. Be bold. Be daring. Find adventure. Have a bucket list and live it. Remember your sisters in your journey. Be strong. Speak what you know. Listen. Lead-don’t follow. Never stop being a gentleman. Open doors, remember your manners and always be respectful. Champion those that are weaker. Strive to be a good person. Do some good. Be kind. Give before you receive. Clean up your mess when you cook. Study. Help someone. Take your sister on a “date” now and then. Read. Love fiercely. Be honest. Always. Believe in something and fight for it. Keep laughing. Keep smiling. Find your happy. 

Dancing with your sister

Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for all you’ve taught me.


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