As a parent, it’s easy to observe our kids through rose-tinted glasses; to only acknowledge their positive traits as opposed to magnifying their indiscretions. And I’ve been wondering lately, if, for your entire life, this is how I have viewed you – if it is the illusion of those rose-tinted frames that parents wear that makes me see you as my eternally happy, jolly and self-assured child…or if it is those very same frames that make me oblivious to the range of emotions that may be hiding behind that smile.
I’ve spent 14 years watching you grow and fine tuning your character, so I think I’m qualified enough to know almost every smile and every scowl that comes from you. I know when you narrow your eyes and knit your brows when I shout or nag or reprimand too much…I know the mischievous grin you have when you’re guilty for ruining your brother or sister’s mood and I know the way your lip quivers when you feel disappointed or angry or someone attacks your self-worth. And I know these things because I’ve invested quality time into nurturing who you are. I don’t think I observe you through a filtered lens…but I will admit that I parent you slightly differently, especially when my mom intuition tells me that you only project one side of who you are to the world.
It’s impossible to describe you without using the words funny and happy. For a teenager; whose reputation is generally to be moody, sulky and sullen; your mood remains relatively unaltered and your sharp sense of humor and quick wit has been a constant fixture throughout these 14 years…amplified only by a willing audience. But that doesn’t mean I’m entirely oblivious to your other “endearing” traits. You’re lively…boisterous…humorous; in equal parts as you stubborn, bossy and strong willed. You like to take charge, be in control and lead; as much as your like order, structure and routine. You’ve remained consistently you in every single way. Unperturbed, strong, happy, confident. But there’s another layer to you that’s shrouded beneath this strong and stubborn sheath.
Being confident and self-assured are not bad qualities to have – gosh, some parents go their whole lives trying to build these qualities up in their kids to make them stronger and less likely to be swallowed by the world, and here you are with this quality already. I’m also aware that you sometimes use it as a front to mask your own insecurities. Rest assured I’ll always be here to help you differentiate between the two and also to keep you in check so that your self-confidence doesn’t spill over into something…well… a little less desirable!
Sometimes, just when I think I need to come down on you a little harder and reel you in with a lasso, you surprise me with this other, softer, side. The side you hide behind you hard exterior and quick witted responses to e v e r y t h i n g! The side that always has the defenses up because you’re afraid to get hurt. Hidden behind this suave shell that you like to show the world is the son I am most proud of!
I love that you can be razor sharp with you mouth as easily as you can be caring when we need you to be. I love how close you are to your sister and that, in your own unique way, you look out for her. I love that you make time for Zaydaan…even if it’s sometimes for your own entertainment. I love that you will, without fail, bring me panados and water if I have a headache and that you would much rather cycle the promenade with your father, than have a day out with your friends. I love that you can ruffle your feathers at the world, and that deep down you value your family most. But what I love most of all, is our open relationship that leads to important conversations – and that more than anything in the world, you value the opinion of your parents, what we have to say, and the way we see you. I love that, despite this happy bubble you like to keep yourself in, we matter.
And lastly…even though I sometimes give you a hard time about it…I am proud of raising a confident child too! Just always remember that your confidence is not a bad thing if it is coupled with empathy and compassion.
Rocky, you make me smile and laugh on a daily basis and my world is forever brighter because of you! You are indeed my not so little anymore ray of sunshine and I am infinitely grateful and proud to call you my son <3
Happy 14th Birthday, smarty pants!
I love you,