.17.

This morning I woke up feeling mixed emotions.
On one hand, I was excited and proud.
On the other, I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
Every year, I write about the complex emotions I feel on this day. Every year I write about how bittersweet this day is. The day I became a mother.
17 years ago.
17 years.

Before I woke him up this morning, I studied his Almost a Man face. Not a trace of the little boy who I used to hold tightly in my arms. “He looks so much like his father now. Where did the time go?” I thought.
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Then, strangely, all of his “firsts” came rushing to mind. His first breath, his first time sleeping through the night. His first tooth. His first steps. His first words. His first day in Kindergarten. Then, I thought of all of the firsts still to come. His first job, his first paycheck, his first broken heart.
How lucky I am. I have this incredibly kind, hilarious, talented son that I’ve had the pleasure of raising for the past 17 years. His possibilities are endless! His future is bright! It’s very exciting and I should be SO DAMN HAPPY.
And I am. I truly am.
At the same time… wasn’t it just yesterday that I was cradling him in my arms while rocking him to sleep? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were discussing who his favorite Power Ranger is? Now, we’re discussing prom and his future in law enforcement.
You can understand why my heart is so conflicted, yes?
By the time I climbed in the van to take The Birthday Boy to school, I was a bit of an emotional wreck. “My baby is almost a man! My heart can’t take this!” I thought to myself as I watched him climb into the car.
*****
“You need a haircut.” I said, as we were pulling up to the school.
“I can’t get one, mom.” he responded
“What do you mean you can’t get a haircut?”
“I made a bet.”
“A bet? Oh Lord…”
“If I get a bowl cut, Jordan is going to give me $10.”
I think I said something like “you realize if you get a bowl cut, you’ll have to shave your head to fix things, right?”
“I know, Mom.” He said, in a Very Annoyed Tone.
I wished him a Happy Birthday as he got out of the car.
“That pretty much sums up the experience of having a 17 year old son right there.” I thought to myself.
And then I laughed. And I laughed all the way home.
Because, my son is 17 years old. And while while 17 year olds think they’re so smart and know more than you do about life, he’s still just childlike enough to agree to a bet that involves GETTING BOWL CUT.
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Happy Birthday, my sweet baby boy. I do love you more than you could possibly even begin to understand.

24 thoughts on “.17.

  1. Nancy P

    Once again you have managed to convey what is in so many mothers hearts. Happy birthday to your son.
    fyi, my son was 17 when he got his 1st broken heart and I tell you it dropped me to my knees.

  2. Marie Green

    I feel the same way on my oldest daughters’ birthday (twins). I just can’t believe that so many days/months/years keep coming between me and that magic moment I became a mama. Each year, I think [This age] seems so old! I can’t believe they are [this age]. And then, just to be a dick, another year up and flies by.
    Happy birthday to your boy/man. And happy “becoming a mom” day to you!

  3. Christine

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful son, Yvonne! And yes, I completely relate to how you’re feeling. Mine are only 8 & 9, but it seems like yesterday they were running around in diapers. Bittersweet, indeed.

  4. Parker_B

    Oh, I don’t even have kids and this makes me so sad! I’m kind of afraid to have children because I know I will love them so much that I’ll never want to let them grow up. This is a beautiful post, though, and Happy Birthday to your son! LOVE the idea of taking their photo while they’re sleeping.

  5. Jana

    My little baby (who is 4) got a haircut today, and damn if he doesn’t look 15. I still want to hold him like a baby, but he will have nothing of it. So today, on your baby boy’s 17th (gah!) birthday, I can’t help but ache a little for you, and for me, too. Why can’t our boys be our babies forever?

  6. Katie

    Awwwww! Happy Birthday to your son, hope he had a great day. And you know if he does get that bowl cut, we all want to see photos? :P

  7. Amanda Feela

    My little girl is 1.5 years and just started walking… What you described in your post has me in tears. I feel like she is “too big” now… How the heck am I going to deal with these feelings when she is 17?
    Beautiful Post.

  8. ella

    My teenage “man” will 17 in July. I say “man” because the dude has whiskers!
    He hugged me this morning before I left for work.
    That just made my day.

  9. Kim

    I just finished showing my son how to peel a banana. After reading this I know it will be too fast before I’m showing him how to drive a car and apply for college. Thanks for helping me realize that even though his clinginess drives me crazy sometimes, I won’t be able to hold him forever and should enjoy it while I can.

  10. Cheryl in TX

    My goodness! You made me cry! I know exactly how you feel. My 22 year old son became a husband and father this year. It has brought much joy and conflicting emotions to my heart as I remember all his “firsts” too.
    Happy birthday to your 17 year old! Hang in there, I want to believe it will get easier to watch him grow up, but I don’t know if that’s possible! :)

  11. Denise

    Oh Y…my firstborn and only son turns 17 in a few weeks…you know exactly how I feel. Happy Birthday to your boy, and happy Momiversary to you!

  12. Baby Favorite

    I can completely relate. The older they get, the more bittersweet. WHERE does the time GO? I find myself constantly flashing back to getting my newborn son out of the hospital nursery (14+ years ago). *sigh*
    Also? I call mine my “teeny tiny baby boy.” He’ll ALWAYS be that to me.

  13. Kate Hayes

    Wow. What a powerful post for parents everywhere. I just started blogging about my kids when I was pregnant with my youngest son. Now he’s almost two, and already, I can’t believe where the years have gone. I just know I’m going to blink and he’s going to be seventeen. I’m not ready yet!! I appreciate this reminder (as if I need one) to treasure every single moment between now and then. Thank you. Love your writing!

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