Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy 18th

Kids are blessing and I have been blessed several times over. There is nothing that can make you happier, madder, smile, laugh, cry, more frustrated or prouder....than a child. From the moment you lay eyes on them, they capture your heart and hold it for all time to come. These are all the thoughts that have been going through my head today. I think one of the proudest and most accomplished moments though that a parent can have is when said child reaches their 18th birthday. You know that for better or worse, you have raised them. You know that they aren't somehow magically grown because they step from 17 to this milestone, but you know that for the most part....your work is done. You have seen them through colicky nights, teeth cutting, first steps, nightmares, school, mean kids, sickness, ER visits, hospital stays, puberty, bullies, learning to drive, curfews, dating and now they have arrived at the magical age that society says makes them adults. Yeah....and just who thought 18 was a good idea to start calling them adults???? I'm kidding. Sort of.

Today my next to the youngest turns 18 and while I know that he is more than ready to spread his wings and fly, I would really like to chain him to his youth for at least a couple more years. Truthfully though, if anyone was ready to fly and deserved the is my Z. For those of you that know our story, you know that Z had a picture perfect life until he was five. At five years old he became a man in so many ways. He watched his father die of a brain aneurysm while the two were home alone and in that moment he experienced something that even many adults have yet to experience. It is a day that Z still holds close to his heart but he never let it define him nor has he spent a lot of time feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he has been working on being a man for many years.

It wasn't long after his dad's death that his older brother left home and our family was cut down to three...Z, myself and my youngest son David who was born with Cerebral Palsy along with a laundry list of other issues. Even at such a young age, Z made sure that he was the best big brother he could be to David. They developed a bond that was so strong and so beautiful and often I was scolded by people for allowing Z to be so enveloped in Davids life. It was felt that I was not allowing Z a childhood and forcing him to take care of David. What people didn't realize and what I grew tired of trying to explain was, Z chose to be this brother. I would literally have to push him to do other things because his heart was with David.

Z's life was not always an easy one. He had had his dad long enough to know how great he was and he missed his dad every day. There were friends and family that on occasions stepped in to try and fill the hole that Tim had left but the reality was....they were not his dad. It was especially hard for him when he went through a rough period where he was bullied by both students and teachers. After a year of home schooling though, Z emerged a much stronger person and rather than let the past affect him....he chose to push forward and leave the past as well as his hurt and anger behind.

Since starting high school, I have watched Z become a man that any parent would be proud of and I know his dad is smiling down. He is strong and knows who he is and what he wants from life. A lot of adults with more years than he has don't even know that. Z has a wicked sense of humor, he is smart and amazingly talented. He is compassionate, caring and he is still David's #1 fan.

To say that Z has been a help to me over the years would be an understatement. There are many things I could not have accomplished with David had it not been for Z. He has been my strength (literally) as he has lifted, adjusted and coerced David along the way. He was never afraid to get in the trenches and change a diaper, help me clean up unpleasant David messes or talk me off a ledge when David was ER or hospital bound. He has been my company so many times on trips back and forth to St. Louis and he is Davids cheering section through it all.

I guess you understand by now, that there is no question as to what an amazing person that I think Z is. It is because of all of this and so much more that I am proud to call him my son. He truly has had my heart from the moment I knew of his existence and although I would love to hold on to him forever....I know this world holds much more for him than just our little house and our family. I have no doubt that he has great things in store for him and I want him to know that although I will miss my little boy....I can't wait to see what my son the man, will accomplish in his lifetime.

To you my son...Z....I wish you a Happy 18th Birthday and a phenomenal life!

I love you more than you will ever know.



Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Happy Birthday Z.

J'nelle said...

Happy Birthday Z! Hope it is a great one!

MarniJ said...

happy Birthday to such an amazing young man!! And Happy Day to a Mom that raised such an amazing young man.

Love You Zach....Aunt Marni