It’s hard to put into words how I feel on this incredibly special day. Nineteen years sounds like a lifetime ago, but holding my son in my arms for the very first time feels like it was only yesterday. He came into this world with a fierce temper and lungs the size of Texas. Over the years the lungs quieted and the temper subdued. But his heart….his heart continued to grow and it has been his guiding light ever since.
When I look at my son I humbly ask myself “What have I done to deserve this amazing child?” As a parent I cannot claim all the ownership over why he is so special. It was part parenting, mainly God with some luck sprinkled in. We’ve been blessed beyond measure by His gracious gift.
From the moment we become parents we begin our job of raising our children into being responsible adults who will positively make their mark in this world. Right around their first birthday we start to ween them off the bottle and the pacifier. Over the next couple birthdays we teach them how to feed and dress themselves. Around five and six years old we begin by helping them do their homework, and then over the years we teach them ways in which they can manage it on their own.
They slept in our arms, moved to their cribs and eventually a bed of their own. By sixteen we have taught them to drive a car until one day they drive away to begin the life you imagined the moment you heard their first heartbeat.
We instill life lessons regarding the value of money knowing one day they will need these skills to take care of their own families. We try to remove most obstacles from their path, and only leave the ones that will teach them important lessons about struggle and consequences. Within a very short span we have groomed our children to be independent beings who can survive and thrive on their own.
Self admittedly, sometimes as parents we forget to prepare ourselves how to let go.
This was the first year my son was not with me on his birthday. We face-timed and I learned all the ways in which he was celebrating his special day. As much as I wish I could give him a birthday hug and cook him a birthday meal, I felt joy listening to him tell me about all the wonderful people in his life who made him feel loved today. With a heart as big as his, I’m not surprised.
This picture was taken on Austin’s first birthday. I had attended class at Seattle University earlier in the day, but cut class early to bake a cake in our tiny Beacon Hill home for the party that night. I worked part time and I was finishing up my senior year of classes. Life felt busy and challenging.
This second picture was taken the day we dropped him off at college. Holding close and letting go all at the same time.
This is the story of a mother and her son. A mother who couldn’t be more proud of the 19 year old boy who has given her life so much purpose.
Happy Birthday Texas.