I marvel that 37 years have passed so quickly, that I had a second child after his difficult birth, that I am old enough to be the mother of someone who is 37, and that I managed to create two such wonderful people as my son and daughter (well, I guess I didn't do it single-handedly but for purposes of this discussion - let's just say that I did!) Ok, ok, that was selfish. My kids are lucky enough to have a father who loves and cares for them for the whole of their lives, and a phenomenal extended family that provided the perfect cocoon to support and develop happy and healthy human beings.
But I can speak only for myself in commenting on parenthood.
I always knew I would be a mother! Always! It is interesting that some people have just the opposite understanding. Children are not part of their future, and unless an accident happens or they marry someone who feels strongly about having children, they do not reproduce. But for me ... always, always, always ... kids were part of my life's plan. And looking back over 37 years, I would do it all again.
What I couldn't understand in advance ... what no one can understand without walking this path, was how having a child changes your life completely and forever! Those 2 simple words just don't seem to really make the impact they should. "Completely ... Forever" Maybe if I bold, enlarge, italicize and capitalize all the letters.
COMPLETELY ... FOREVER!
No, that doesn't do it either. There are no words to express the change that floods over you when you are handed your newborn child. You know instantly that the focus of your life has just changed as dramatically and permanently as if you were physically lifted off the planet Earth and placed on Jupiter. I've heard it said that having a child is like having your heart beat outside your body. Those words come close to the experience of giving birth, raising and letting go of your child. And the "letting go" ... it is harder than the childbirth.
I'd like to think that my husband and I did everything right, and that is why we have such wonderful people as our kids. That would be a lie. Parents make mistakes. All parents! I remember a number of my own failings in parenting, and I am sure that my kids could name a some I forgot. Parents are humans and humans aren't perfect. I have always said that raising children is like walking through a mine field. Some of us make it without being blown up, and some of us don't.
Thank you God for letting my two kids make it to the other side in one piece.
And, son, I am so very proud of the man you have become. Happy Birthday!
Love you always - completely and forever,
PS - and yes, my baby girl, I love you always - completely and forever - too.