My Sweet Boy,
Today marks the 16th year I’ve been blessed to be your mom. When God decided to loan you to me so I could love and care for you, I remember being so nervous about having two children. How would I ever keep up? Where would enough time come from to be all I longed to be to both of you? My head was swimming with questions of how it was all going to be possible. The one thing I never questioned, whether I could love you both with all my heart. I hope that in many ways you have seen the love I have for you.
Each year with you is something new and adventurous and I can’t wait to see what this year will bring and all the ways you will change and grow.
As a toddler, you were never afraid to step out and try new things (remember trying to jump from the top step of 13 when you were two? Yep, breaking your arm was quite new for both of us). You’ve always had a sense of wonder and I hope you never lose the desire to try new things and to look in awe at the world God made.
God made you just the way you are meant to be and I hope you never question who you are in the Lord. If that day should ever come, know that God understands and it’s okay to question things, yes, even God and who he is. Your inquisitiveness is part of your design and one of the things I love most about you. You can never wonder about something too much or ask too many questions; that’s usually the best way to figure things out.
As you begin this journey of being 16, many things will change and you will begin to look at things differently than you did when you were younger. New ideas, new friends, new choices, and new opportunities will come knocking on your door. Some will be good, others won’t be. I pray you will have the wisdom and discernment to know the difference. This world can be a scary place, but you’ve always had a good head for right and wrong. Use that good head and don’t ever forget you are free to choose but you are not free from the consequence of your choice. Every choice you make will have a consequence, whether it’s good or bad all depends on the choice. Try to always choose wisely, even when it’s hard.
“After all is said and done, you are free to choose but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.”
You will make mistakes. You will fall flat on your face. You will fail. Those mistakes, falls, and failures are nothing more than opportunities to learn something, to grow in a different direction, and to have something better. Always try. Try new things. Go to new places. Eat new things. How will you know if you like something if you don’t try? How will you know you can if you don’t try. Always, always try.
It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. I agree. Your sense of humor is, bar none, one of my favorite things about you. Your laughter is life-altering and contagious. Share it with the world. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with others but never at others. Okay, there are times when it’s okay to laugh at others because they will be laughing too. Life is meant to be fun, even when it’s tough and it will be tough at times. If you can keep your sense of humor and your laughter there isn’t anything that can keep you from getting through the tough stuff.
Girls. Oh, the things that come with finding yourself interested in a girl. She’ll make you nervous and excited all within a heartbeat. Your heart will race, you’ll feel lightheaded, your palms may even sweat. When you find a girl you like, I pray you will remember I’ve raised you to be a gentleman. Open doors for her, pull out her chair when she sits down, stand when she leaves or enters a room, write her love notes, speak softly to her, and do the little things that make her feel special. Let your kindness shine in all you do for her.
Your heart will get broken a time or two before you find the one God created just for you. It’s going to hurt like crazy and you’re going to believe your world is going to end. I know how much that’s going to crush you. I want you to know, a broken heart does mend. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we would like, but it does. When you least expect it, you’ll suddenly be laughing again and finding you’re interested in someone else. Learning to love is about taking a risk. It’s about letting yourself be vulnerable and willing to allow someone else to have the opportunity to hold your heart. Love can be scary, but it’s worth it. I promise.
Be a man of integrity. I’ve said it to you a hundred times and I’ll probably remind you a hundred more. Always do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Even when no one is looking and even when you have to do the right thing alone. Be a man of your word. If you say you’ll do something then do it. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Always be true to who you are and treat others with respect and kindness, especially when they are not respectful or kind to you.
You are a leader and that means others will be looking to you even when you think they aren’t. Take that seriously and show them what a man of God looks like. It won’t always make you the most popular or coolest, but it will show the world that you have morals, values, and principles that you live up to, not for them, but for yourself. Sometimes the most popular thing isn’t always the right thing. Don’t be afraid to lead and think for yourself. Make your own decisions. If you do, others will follow your lead. I promise.
Serve God first and know that if you seek Him, your path will always take you where you need to be. Your heart is so good. I love your capacity to empathize with others. Your kindness and gentleness are far more mature than your years. That is a gift, maybe even your Spiritual Gift from the Holy Spirit. The world will try to tell you all the wrong things. Choose to follow Christ instead and bounce everything the world tells you off of God’s word before you simply follow along with the crowd. I believe God has BIG PLANS for you and I know you’ll be up for whatever he has in mind.
I am so proud of the man you’re becoming! Watching you grow has been one of my greatest joys in life. I can’t wait to see where you’ll go, what you’ll do and see where God takes you on your life’s journey.
Sixteen can be hard even among all the fun and good times. I’m right here to walk with you no matter what you go through. I know whatever comes, you’re going to be GREAT!!
Happy Birthday, Son!
I love you bunches and bunches,