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Single Mom Slice of Life: Happy Birthday Justin! Thanks For The Gifts You Gave To Me…

Red Happy Birthday balloons

Single Mom Slice of Life: Happy Birthday Justin!
Thanks For The Gifts You Gave To Me…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful boy Justin!

My youngest of two, Justin has taught me as much about being a parent as my oldest has. I’m also not afraid to admit, he has made me a better parent. My boys are not only polar opposites, they came along at different times in my life.

When Nick was born, I was 21, engaged to be married, had a fool-proof parenting plan, and an unshakable belief that this was the path my life was destined to travel.

Justin came along a few years later, after I had walked away from an abusive marriage, a life plan that ran in 10 minute increments, and a head-start on the uncertain path that is single parenthood.

Related: Our Story Begins: Living in the Moment

Where Nick was loud, outgoing but still willing to ask mom for help – Justin was quiet, introverted, but strong enough to move forward as though he’s known all along what he needs to do in life without any help from me.

I was a different parent because I was a different person. Those commercials about the difference in parenting “Kid 1” versus ‘Kid 2” are funny because they’re true. That’s not to say I was a bad parent to Nick, but I was less… neurotic. (Those people who know me personally are probably laughing, but they also probably didn’t see me as a 21 year old parent. Believe it or not… I really was waaaay worse.)

It also helped though that Justin didn’t need me to be as neurotic. He has been described at various ages, in different states, by separate people that he is an old soul. Justin is happy in any situation, with any type of person, at any given time. He cares deeply for people, genuinely wants the best for others, and on a daily basis, will put himself last to make sure others get what they want first.

Justin is uncomfortable in the spotlight. He hurts when others hurt, believes that there is no gray where justice is concerned, and has given his last dollar from savings to the school’s charity of the week more than once.

Related: What Matters Most: Building a Bridge to Your Teen’s Heart

This is not to say he is not a normal teenager. I often don’t get change back when he buys lunch, he has a firm belief that “it doesn’t need to BE clean, it just has to LOOK clean”, is positive that the smellier the fart the funnier it is, and that letting the dogs lick the plates clean is the same as pre-washing them (groosss).

Even with all of that… I don’t know where Justin’s future is headed, I don’t know what is waiting for him when he gets there. But I do know that he is one hell of a kid, and no matter what path he decides to take, he’ll make it his own, and change the lives he touches when he gets there.

Happy birthday, Justin. I am in awe of the child you were, the teen you are, and the man you will become. The world is waiting for you.

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