It seems like just yesterday that I first held you in my arms for the first time. My tiny little baby boy that boggled my mind; how could I create such perfection? I couldn't get enough of you; holding you, nursing you, watching you sleep. That still holds true today, my teenager. I still am in awe of the beauty God entrusted in me, to care for and help grow into the wonderful person you are today. There isn't a person I know with such a strong spirit as you. You glow when I watch you helping others. You take such pride in making sure everyone around you is well-cared for. For doing such small little favors for others, you prove to me again and again what a treasure of a child I am raising. You make me know that I am doing okay when I see the pride flow across your beautiful face, your dimpled chin turned up into a smile that lights up the room. I am so very proud of you!
We have been through so much together in your 13 years of life. There have been so many moments when i didn't know if we were going to be okay, if we were going to make it. I remember all those days sitting with you in your hospital room as each breath you took could have been your last. I remember the day when you did take a last breath and turned blue and how for those few seconds of my life, time stood still and I couldn't breathe wondering how I was ever going to be okay again. And then, when the power of medicine and doctors brought your life back to me, how I took your little hand in mine and the feeling of a love so deep as I have neevr felt again washed over me. It was then that I learned what it truly means to be a mama, what it means to love so deeply that nothing else matters, and when I grasped that you were mine and I would ALWAYS be there for you, would do whatever was needed to make your life happy and secure and loved.
And then came the ADHD and autism and all the anger and fear and anxiety. We sure manage to get ourselves into some situations, many I wish niether of us had to live through. I don't claim to understand what hides underneath the smile I see radiating from your face, nor do I grasp what lies in the beautiful head of hair I caress each night as you fall asleep. All I do know is that whatever lies behind the beautiful face I brought onto this earth is a part of you, and whatever is a part of you, is something I treasure and love so deeply I can't even begin to explain. When I consider autism, it is only with the hope that I can learn to understand, learn to do what is best for you, and learn to overcome the shadows and doubt caring for you brings. I don't ever wish that you were someone else, for it is you that I love, each and every part of you, and I will take the good with the bad and do my best to be the best mama I can.
Tonight as I tucked you into bed after a long day of celebration, all you spoke of was the gift you received from Aunt Ilse; a subscription to Kids For Animals. All you talked of was the animals you could care for, the food you could make them, the zookeepers that you could assist, and maybe one day be a zookeeper yourself if you could learn from them. As I tried to read you a chapter of your new book, you kept interrupting me to ask about different animals and ways that you could help them. Care was the only thing on your mind. Giving of your time and expertise to help animals in need. And as I tried to redirect you to the story so you could fall into a peaceful sleep, I recognized once again this characteristic about you: you are giving, loving, and helpful. And those qualities, my dear son, will get you far in life. People that don't see the value of your loving character can never benefit from the joy you bring. I am glad that I am one of many that sees you for the good person that you are. I am glad you have the power to bring me hope and that I am allowed to know you, love you, and be in your company eevry day. I have learned so very much from you, but the thing that really sticks out is acceptance. For you are accepting of everyone, and have taught me to be accepting as well. You don't judge, but love people for who they are. And I promise you, what goes around, comes around, and in your life, you are bound to be the receiver of many important gifts from people of all walks of life. Gifts that truly matter like acceptance, love, smiles, comfort, care.
Kaeden, I truly can't believe we have reached this milestone. It makes mama feel 100 years old to have a teenage son. But my boy, there have been so many smiles and so much laughter along the way to brighten up even the greyest of days. Those grey days, well, I wish there weren't quite so many. When we both lose control and then we have to rely on the sun to come out from behind the clouds, wait for those smiels and that laughter, well, I wish they didn't have to be. But still, it doesn't matter, because through it all, I love you, deeply, purely, truly, unconditionally. And I will always love you and continue to do my best to be the mama that you need. And that is a promise I will keep to you forever, that started on the first day I held you in my arms, holds true today as you turn 13, and will hold true for every day in the future that we share. I am blessed to be your mama. And I hope you feel blessed to have me as your mom.
Happy 13th Birthday My Teenager. I love you more than all the stars in the sky.