S E V E N T E E N today! Where do I even begin to unload how I feel…
Birthdays are always bittersweet for moms. We get to have front row seats to the early years of our children’s journey – we get to hold their hand while watching them develop and grow – until one day their hands no longer slips as easily into yours and they’re too big to fit onto your lap or the crook of your arm, and their hugs become sparse and their questions start to fade and their fathers try to take the lead…and then suddenly, they develop their wings and begin to fly. But truth be told, we will always observe our children with joy and pride – cheering them on from the frontline, the sideline and even the shadows. And what an absolute joy it’s been watching you evolve into the charismatic young man you are today 🙂
To be fair, you’ve always been charismatic and charming and kind and gentle and a little bit quirky. You’ve always been my sun and my light and my big, goofy ball of electric energy. You are funny and light hearted and the joy of our home, and wherever you are there’s a sprinkling of laughter. Sometimes I feel like you still observe the world with a childlike innocence, and while some may interpret it as a bit naïve; I like that your view on things is still untainted. Beneath that humour and playfulness, you have giving and generous heart – one that always wishes the best for others and always tries to find ways to help other to succeed. In many ways, you embody the golden rule of wishing for others what you wish for yourself.
Sure enough, you drive me around the bend (and recently around the block too) every now and again; but mostly, you are reliable, helpful and dependable. You’re a family guy at heart, and over the past year I’ve watched proudly as you’ve stepped up to the plate as a supportive brother to your sister when she needed you the most… and I’ve watched both irritatedly and affectionately as you wind Zaydaan up, and then tactfully diffuse the tweenage mood swing with a playful grappling match or a round of video games. Yes, yes…you have it down to a fine art to be both annoying and charming at the same time.
But what I’m most proud of is the way you are following your passion and your dreams. I remember you being a small boy constantly wrestling with the pillows; and now you’re a 17 year old living out your MMA dreams! MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) may not have been MY choice for you, but I admire your drive, discipline and dedication to your sport. I admire the hours and hard work you’ve put into mastering your set of skills…and I am the proudest mom for your accomplishment of making it to the Western Province team. You have taught me that sometimes, being a parent means letting go of your own vision for your child in order for them to prosper and thrive, and I’ve got to see it first hand with you.
Over the next few years it is inevitable that our relationship will change as you need me less and forge your own path. You won’t always need me in the way you need me today and that is something I will have to come to terms with when the time arises. I can only hope that it will evolve in a way that will always keep us united. Always remember that no matter how winding the path ahead will be, no matter where your path will carry you, I will always be your biggest cheerleader and supporter – from now until the end of time <3