Single Mom Slice of Life:
A Letter To My “Almost” Adult Son
To my son Nick:
Yeah, I’m already crying – what about it? I think that I am allowed to cry. I mean, after all, in just a few short days we will celebrate your 18th birthday.
The night you were born, Poppa wrote a letter to me… a kind of “welcome to parenthood” type letter that believe it or not, I still have. It was a beautiful letter, with lots of thought and love. 18 years later, I don’t remember a single thing he wrote in it except this: “Life is not a sitcom where answers to all of your problems will be found and fixed in 30 minutes.”
So, in my “welcome to adulthood” letter to you, I say this: He’s absolutely right.
You have seen more than most kids should. You have suffered more than any kid should. You have sacrificed, gone without, and been forced to grow up faster than the normal because you had a single mom who was making it up as she went along. Though I admit it’s not fair, you have comforted me sometimes as much as I have tried to comfort you. Sometimes because you were asked, most times without, you have taken on more responsibility than you should have. And though I wasn’t able to fix nearly enough problems, and the answers to all of your problems haven’t been found, I believe you are man enough to find them.
You have a sense of compassion, a drive for happiness that is so rare in this day and age. Your sense of humor is contagious, and your desire to make others laugh is admirable. You value people over money, emotions over objects, and are aware that there are other people on the planet besides yourself. You have no idea how many fully grown adults still don’t understand that.
There’s a story about a woman who is helping her mom move, and the daughter asks, “why do you keep these plates? They’re all chipped and cracked… just throw them away.” The mom replies, “Never. Every chip, every crack is a story.”
Yes, we have fought. Yes, we have argued. Without a doubt we both carry battle scars from butting heads over your teenage attitude, and my many other issues… but every scar is proof that it was completely and totally worth it to get to where we are today: an insanely proud mom watching her officially adult son plan for his future. I am so excited for you I just can’t stand it.
Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t know what comes next. Be happy that you have the opportunity to try EVERYTHING. You are not held back by expectations, or limited by what you think you are supposed to do. Not knowing, believe it or not, is a gift. It means there are no limitations on your options. The world is literally yours to conquer.
Thank you for the last 18 years. The ups and the downs, the hard times and good ones, the carefree and the stressful… I would never trade them for anything. You are going to change the rest of the world some day, just like you’ve changed mine.
Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent since 2002, with two boys ages 13 and 18. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and has returned to college for her B.A. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.