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A Letter To My Son On His 18th Birthday

Dear beloved son,

I knew this day would come, but I still can’t believe it’s actually here. Every mom feels the same way about her babies, especially on their 18th birthday. I’ve watched you change in so many ways through these teen years as you transformed from a child into a man. I stare at you with wonder and awe, mesmerized by how much you’ve matured and how big you are now. I remember when you awkwardly entered puberty and middle school’s doors, fraught with crowded halls of new faces and all the social and cultural influences that flooded your safe existence. Your world opened up as various people, ideas, personalities, and perspectives flooded in. It was such a big transition, and you navigated through all those difficult decisions and hard life lessons so well. I’m so proud of you for staying true to yourself despite the intense pressure to be someone else.

The high school years expanded your world even more, with its complex layers of learning how to manage your academics, sports schedules, romantic relationships, and fluctuating social circles. Every area of your life has been filled with tough choices, painful changes, hard losses, and stressful circumstances. And in and through it all, you grew in wisdom, resilience, responsibility, and self-confidence. It was never easy to endure those experiences. But they all refined you and shaped you into the man you are today. And through these years, you’ve also embraced many new opportunities that gave you joy, fulfillment, purpose, and direction. You deserve all the praise, rewards, and support you’ve received from your coaches, teachers, friends, and family.

I’m so proud of you, my dear son. I’m so proud of the man you have become. I’m proud of how you work hard and devote yourself to accomplishing your goals. I’m so proud of your determination and discipline in facing hard challenges. I’m so proud of how steadfast and faithful you are in what you believe despite the cultural and social pressure that surrounds you every day. I’m so proud of how responsible you are in all the different areas of your life. I’m so proud of how you handle adversity, with your unwavering mindset to overcome anything. I’m so proud of your integrity and character that exudes maturity, loyalty, leadership, and commitment. I’m so proud of how you worked hard on your academics, persevered through significant life changes, developed new skills, and found true friendships. I’m proud of how you respect others and truly live out your values in everything you do. Oh, my son, I’m just so proud of you.

When kids turn 18, it seems the world expects them to be adults immediately, and that’s never the case when it comes to reality. So please don’t feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to be a full-fledged adult. You’re not supposed to know anything more than you do right now. As time passes, you’ll slowly discover many new ways to keep growing up. Right now, you are slowly putting the pieces together in planning your life after high school graduation, which is such a difficult endeavor for every kid. Take it one step at a time, and always know you can make changes in your life as you go. No decision is permanent. You are just beginning to consider your interests and skills and what brings meaning and purpose to you right now. As you mature during the following years, you’ll develop new interests, skills, desires, and plans. 

Be true to yourself, dear son. Listen to your heart more than anyone else. Whatever you choose to do with your life will be rich and rewarding if you build it yourself.

I will always worry about your safety and well-being or if you’ve really mastered all the daily living skills needed. I will always wonder if you feel at peace about who you are and what you’re doing and if you are taking good care of yourself without me reminding you of allthethings. I’ll worry if I prepared you enough for the challenges that will come as you live your life away from the comforts of our home. You know I’m a worrier about every little thing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe you are capable of living successfully on your own. I know you are ready. And I trust you will continue learning how to live independently, stay healthy and safe, and take good care of yourself. But Moms like me will always worry. That’s just what we do. There’s a big world filled with many unknowns, so it’s hard for me to let you go.

But as you prepare to head into your future and start living on your own, I hope you remember my love more than anything else. We both know it hasn’t always been easy. I made mistakes as a parent, and you made mistakes, too. But through every heated battle we’ve had or consequence I’ve given, through some of those dark days where either you or I were really struggling, there was never a minute where I didn’t feel fierce love for you. My love has only grown deeper and stronger for you, and it’s transformed into this beautiful bond that I treasure more than anything else. I still can’t believe I get to be your mom. Oh, what an incredible gift it has been and will continue to be all the days of my life. 

And I know our relationship will change after you leave. I know I will miss you and our daily life together, and I’ll have to cope with that grief. I know this new season will be harder on me than on you because you’re ready to fly, my dear boy, and that’s what you must do.

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