Last week #TheTeenager officially became #MisterEJ. He celebrated a birthday that took him out of being a teenager. He’s now a 20 year old and accepting that was a big moment for me. During the last 20 years my son and I have shared some major moments together.
I had my son when I was 18. I grew up fast at times loosing a bit of my own childhood along the way. Learning that life wasn’t only about me anymore wasn’t easy. My priorities changed and even though I had many moments when I could have been better I worked hard to be the best mom I could.
His Senior Year of high school was big. It was so emotional for me. It wasn’t until we went to take his senior pictures that I realized he was at the stage I was when I had him. For me getting him to that point brought back a lot of memories..good and not so good. I started thinking on all the ways I changed as a person since becoming a mother. The lessons learned and more specifically the ones my son had taught me. I had to go from being focused only on what I wanted to working towards what was best for him.
Then came college and I could hardly believe I was mom to a college student. I had a few bumps where I tried to live the life I felt I’d had to skip by forcing him to live it. Yet that wasn’t for him. He had to be given the room to choose his own path. It wasn’t easy but we got through it. I learned that he had to make the choices that were best for who he wanted to be not who I wanted him to be.
Now he’s at a point where those choices are starting to get scary. Not so much for him but for me. He wants things I don’t want for him. His adult choices mean I need to somehow find the strength to release my fears. I can’t place my doubts on his life. He will always be my baby boy but he is also a man. To try and hold him back with my desires would not only be wrong but I unfair.
He recently told me that he felt like I was still making all his decisions for him. As a mother who lived through many mistakes simply because I didn’t have anyone to help me avoid them. My biggest fear is not warning him of what may lay ahead. Yet I’m starting to realize he may need to fall in order to learn how to get up. If I’m always there as that safety net he will never learn the lessons failure can teach.
This year my baby boy turned 20! We decided to take the day and hang out like we used to. A mom/son day. The first thing he wanted to do was something he’s been trying to do since he was 18. He wanted to finally get his first tattoo. When he first came to me at 18 with the idea I encouraged him to make a smart choice, think on what he wanted and the why behind that choice. He did. So I knew this what the year for him to get it.
Through the years My son and I have developed a relationship as mother and son but we have also become friends. It used to be a line I tried never to cross. Yet learning that boundaries can exist while still giving room for your relationship to grow and develop is also key to accepting your child as they become an adult.
I had to learn this lesson: If I did not give my relationship with him to chance to be more than disciplinarian and child he wouldn’t feel comfortable telling sharing and connecting with me the way we do. He would never feel like I was acknowledging the man he is becoming.
Thinking on how far we have come I know that I still have many more lessons to learn in this thing called parenthood still reaching this milestone with my oldest has taught me that even though I may still be learning it’s all worth it!
Check out how we celebrated his birthday the design he chose and the why behind it in the video below!