Happy 16th Birthday Noah,
I remember every minute of the morning of April 27, 2001 like it was yesterday. I was in labor with you for 4 hours and when you finally made your grand entrance into this world I waited anxiously to hear your first cry. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. It was the day I became a mom. It was the day my life changed forever. You are undeniably one of the most amazing things that have ever happened to me.
I remember the day we brought you home from the hospital. Reality really hit hard. I sat on the couch sobbing uncontrollably. I was so angry that the hospital staff let me bring you home. What were they thinking? What did I know about being a mom of such a precious, tiny human? Nothing! Your dad reassured me that everything we be fine. I am sure he was laughing on the inside…or maybe he was just as scared as I was but just wasn’t showing it. Regardless, it didn’t take long to find our grove and settle into a routine.
I was lucky to be able to spend 2 ½ years at home with you before returning to work. Watching you take your first steps, hearing your first words are all moments I cherish. I loved reading the morning newspaper with you. I would read about the current events and you would sit across the table from me reading aloud the letters in your section of the newspaper. You were a sponge, wanting to know everything and do everything. Like every new mom I found everything you did as so amazing.
I remember your first day of kindergarten. You finally got to ride the school bus and you were so excited. We met you as you were getting off the bus and took you to your classroom. You couldn’t wait for us to leave to so to be with your friends. You continue to be this kid. So confident in yourself and your abilities.
I remember seeing the world through your eyes as we traveled the world. You embraced every opportunity to try something new: from chasing seals in the Galapagos, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, to teaching a kindergarten class in Cambodia. The world truly became your classroom.
Now that your 16, I still find the things you do amazing. You continue to amaze me each and every day. You take on new challenges with such ease and confidence. I love to watch the young man you are becoming…so confident, caring and loyal. You have accomplished so much and make me so proud to be your mom.
Now you are about to get your drivers’ licence and your first job. Huge changes and responsibilities come with that, but I know you will embrace those too.
As you grow from a teenager to a young adult I want to you remember a few things.
I want you to remember to be kind to others and yourself. You will never be disappointed for reaching out to that classmate that is sitting alone in the lunchroom. You just may have more in common than you first thought. Remember, we have all been that kid at some time. More importantly, be kind to yourself. You have such high expectations for yourself and often get disappointed in yourself. Don’t take life so seriously. Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. Don’t worry about what others are thinking. This is your life, live it to the fullest.
I want you to remember to take risks….those big bold ones. I know I don’t need to tell you this now, but when you re-read this in 10 years you may need the reminder. When that time comes I want you to recall the time you volunteered in Spain for two weeks when you were just 13 years old. I want you to remember leaving your childhood friends as you attend a different high school. Such courageous accomplishments.
I want you to remember to follow your dreams wherever they may lead you. Don’t settle for anything less. If you want it bad enough, there is always a way to make it happen.
I know you are going to cringe when you read this, but this letter wouldn’t be complete without saying it. I want you to remember to treat your girlfriends with respect, but don’t let them change who you are. When you meet the right person, you will know. Nothing will need to be changed. I want you to remember sex can wait. Don’t hurry this. There are no do over’s.
Finally, I want you to remember that I am not perfect and I have and will continue to make mistakes but I will always be your number one supporter. Remember, no matter where you go in your life, and what bumps you encounter on your journey, I am always here.