Wednesday, May 1, 2013

16

I've been telling Cole that I'm going to send a singing telegram to school for his 16th birthday.  And if they won't let me do that, I'll just make an announcement over the intercom:  "Happy Birthday Cole!  We love you SO MUCH and are so proud of the young man you are becoming!".  He told me that if I did that, he'd run away.  Or kill me.  But today, when I asked him if he enjoyed the telegram (that I didn't send) he told me that he was nervous all day, and he said he actually wouldn't have been that mad.  He wouldn't be that mad!  So, next year, he's getting a very special singing visitor at school.  With no warning.  Because that is what I took from the conversation.

It'd be pretty hard for me to describe how amazing my kid is and how much I love him.  I've known Cole for eleven years now.  I doubt he remembers a time when I wasn't part of his life, and if he does, he probably hates that part.  Okay, that was a pretty risky assumption, and probably isn't true, but you know what I'm saying.  When I met him, and he was five, I couldn't imagine this part of life.  I didn't know what kind of relationship we'd have.  I couldn't have imagined that a decade could transform a relationship from a stepson and a stepmom into one that transcended all odds and became something so completely remarkable.  He's not my flesh and blood, but he's my heart.  I am so proud to be his mom, and thankful to all the people who allowed and encouraged me to be here for him and let him be a whole part of my life.  No stepparent could wish for better than I have it now.

That shirt?  It's called a bro-tank. 
 Don't call it bro-stupid; he won't appreciate that.

One thing I've learned about life is that nothing is perfect.  Life is messy, and parenting is no exception.  Parenting your first child is particularly difficult, because you're doing everything for the first time.  I'm sure Cole would agree that I've not done everything well.  I don't always know what to do, or what to say, and I second guess myself.  But here's something else I've learned:  You gotta talk to your kid.  Talk about everything, even (especially!) the hard stuff.  If you come up with a good communication system, the rest will fall into place.  I think talking is one of the things we do best.  

And this kid, he talks to me.  He flaps on about nothing, and he asks me questions about everything.  He asks for advice, and he sometimes even takes it.  I am most grateful for that gift, even when it's noisy and chaotic.  My deepest prayer is that we can continue to communicate his whole life.  Please keep talking to me, G.

This week, he got his first job, celebrated his sixteenth birthday (today!), he gets confirmed tomorrow, and takes his driver's test Friday.  It's a big week.  It's a big life.  It's the beginning of what will be a remarkable adult life for him, and I cannot wait to walk with him the rest of the way to adulthood.  I cannot wait to see what he does as a man in this world and what kind of choices he makes.  He's going to be amazing and I am so so proud to have played a part in what he is becoming.

This blog post would probably embarrass him, but not as much as a stranger singing Happy Birthday in his lunchroom at school (I think.  Stay tuned for next year's birthday blog entry).  So I'm going to publish it at the end of a really amazing birthday, in the midst of a really amazing life.  Today, I'm celebrating the things that are easy about parenting -- not the least of which is loving my son.  Happy Birthday, Cole!

3 comments:

ethiopifinn said...

You never cease to amaze me, Leanne. So much love!!! And love all the big events so close together...exciting time at your house.

elizabeth said...

Hand on heart. It's beautiful to watch your family from afar - so much love.

Congrats to Cole - that is a LOT of excitement for one weekend!!!

Julie said...

You're one heck of a mama. And I love your heart. You inspire me to try to keep communication open with my own boys, especially my older one who pretends he doesn't want to talk about anything. :)