“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
-Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I blinked, and all of a sudden today, my child became an adult.
The newborn baby I held in my arms in what feels like yesterday. The toddler who used to run to the window to watch trains drive past. The little boy who wrecked my living room furniture running around day and night with a hockey stick and ball in his hands. The teenager who creatively edited sports pictures on his phone, yelled at video games, played basketball in my driveway, teased his younger brother and sister, yet still always found the time to hug his mom, turned 18-years-old.
The blow is somewhat softened because he is a senior in high school. I still have some time at home with him. I am super grateful for that September cutoff date for school right now! The fact that I have a child who is an adult is shocking. You sit back and really wonder where all that time went. It really does fly by. I can still picture in my mind my son being a week old and my husband’s aunt telling us just that, it was going to fly by in an instant and the next thing we knew he was going to be all grown up. Here we are now. Mind. Blown.
He has turned out to be a pretty amazing guy. He has had his challenges and special needs here and there, but has handled them well, and knows to come to my husband and me when he is in over his head for help. I’m not just saying that. He really has come to us and has been my most responsible kid. He is neat and orderly and I wish I could get him to clean my entire house. Sadly, he employs his cleanliness to his own room and space. He has a huge heart and is kind and compassionate. He is the kind of person who would give someone his last dollar and not eat himself if it helped someone else. His grades are pretty good and he has his eye on two particular colleges next fall (not far from home, Mommy happy dance!) He plans to continue playing hockey, which his is first love, and just overall, his Dad, brother, sister, and I love him and are incredibly proud of him.
Today as I love the man he has become, I also remember the little boy he was. The sweet, quiet, guy who loved trains and motorcycles. The child who found hockey at age five and his entire life change. Hockey from that point on became his life. It became our life as well. For the next 13 years it was practices, games, tournaments, and travelling. Because of him we saw so many cities and states, even Canada snuck in there a few times. We saw all of these things from a different perspective because it was through his eyes. It was from a love of a game, and a passion our son had. It wasn’t easy. It was a lot of early mornings. His brother and sister were very young when we started all of this so that made it tricky, but we loved him and loved his passion, so it made the experience fun in the end. We will cherish it always.
We also had moved around a lot and had some family trauma. As the oldest child, he was affected the most. He let us know he wasn’t happy, and we made sure to surround him with any help he needed, personal and professional, and to surround him with support. I always hope he knew he mattered more than anything else in the world to us. He was our firstborn, but he is always our baby. We will always do anything for him. I know sometimes he feels lost in the shuffle, especially with two younger siblings, but my husband and I always want him to know he matters, and that will never change no matter what age he is. We will ALWAYS be there for him.
I know I have to stand back and start letting go with this birthday. He is an adult now. I have to trust I raised a good man and let him start making more of his own decisions. It is going to be the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I will always be here to advise him and I will always have his back, but I also have to learn to let go. I’m going to need a lot of prayers. This one won’t be easy. The first child never is.
So to you, Braden Elliot, know how much your Dad, brother, sister, and I love you. Know we always have your back. Know you always have a home. Know you always have a place to rest your head.
And most important, Happy 18th Birthday!