A letter to my Son, because you are 15.
I’ll never forget the time you came home from school and told me you learned a new dance. I stopped what I was doing, sat the living room sofa, curled my feet on the cushions, excited to see your new moves, imagining you busting out in a head spin or moonwalk.
“Okay, GO!” And 3 seconds later, your 5 year old little body River Danced straight across the floor, for like 5 minutes straight. As I bent over in full blown tears of hysterical shock and laughter, you just kept patting your little feet like it was all your business. And then you stopped, looked at me with a seriously intense expression, and laughed right into my hug.
That by far has to be one of my most favorite memories with you. And I’ve taken it with me into my darkest days as a reminder of the joy you have given me, of the woman you’ve helped me to become, and of the strength you’ve helped me to find.
You are 15 years old today, Kid. 15 years ago today You and I began a vehement journey of Child and Mama. And through a wordless allegiance to each other, we promised to love, to protect, to grow, to learn from, to mess up with, to figure shit out with and to stretch for in the most unimaginable ways, side by side. Your soul entrusted me to parent you through this life, and I entrusted you to show me how.
I could NEVER have learned what I have through out my life without you. And what you’ve taught me surmounts what I could ever teach you.
You taught me how to become a Mom, one of the greatest roles of all my life.
And it’s at this 15 year mark of our journey, I believe we’ve reached a cross roads. Long gone are the days where I “teach” you a thing. From now, these are the days where through life lessons you will learn all on your own. I could only hope that with the years of love and trust I’ve shown you, you understand that life works a certain way and it has its’ own unwritten rules. The lessons don’t come in a scripted order. They have no guidelines. Some lessons are blatant and some will maintain their agendas for years on end. Some lessons are of the heart, and some are for your courage. I can’t tell you what they all are, as I’m still learning some myself. But I can pass on some things I’ve learned along the way. And hopefully, when the lesson presents itself, you can remember these words from Mom… We’ll start with a simple 15.
15 rules to live by
- Be kind. In as simply as I can put it, don’t be an asshole.
2. Respect those who were here before you. They fought battles that you’ll never have to.
3. Gratitude is sexy. Show appreciation to those who helped you get to where ever you are, no matter where that is. After all, you didn’t learn how to clean your own ass by yourself.
4. Never judge. You never know what a person is going through behind the smile they show the world. I’ve put on smiles like it was cherry chapstick hiding the bitter tastes of lifes’ fury.
5. Share time in real time. In the world of technology, nothing is better for your soul than an in person chat with an old friend. Be sure to nourish the connections you have. People grow and change. And so will you. Don’t fault them for it.
6. No one else are like your siblings. There are only 2 other people in this world that knows what Moms’ heart beat sounds like from the inside. Take care of them. No one will ever understand your reason for crazy like they will.
7. Be strong. In your mind. In your body. In your spirit. This is a lifelong exercise.
8. Stand on your square. Know what you stand for. And don’t let flashy lights or shiny things deter you from YOUR ultimate self
9. Open the door for women. Pull out the chair for women. Honor the women around you. You come from a woman who loved you enough to sustain you from womb to flesh and beyond. Women bear life. We were created with that strength for a reason. YOU cannot carry Life. YOU cannot nourish Life with your body. YOU cannot push a baby through your penis. Respect Women at all times.
10. Help old ladies with their groceries, up the stairs, across the street when ever you see the opportunity, even if it will make you late. One day that old lady will be me.
11. What you put out , you get. Including your thoughts. Be mindful of those the most.
12. Your knowledge is yours. You have the capacity to learn WHAT EVER you want. And once you have that knowledge embedded in your cells no one can take that, not even your biggest adversary . Feed your brain as healthily as you feed your body. Strengthen your brain with knowledge to take you through any battle. Stock up on tools and instruments you can bring into any debate. And trust in yourself and your wisdom.
13. Be loyal to your friends. Surround yourself with genuinely good people. People that will cheer you on when you’ve achieved and call you out on your bullshit when you’re fucking up.
14. Be honest to your self. Who ever you are, whatever you stand for and however way you feel you should travel through life, be honest with your self about it. Know when something is working for you and your goals. Know when something is not conducive to your journey. Have those hard conversations with yourself. Don’t waste your time and anyone else’s.
15. Whatever you enjoy the most now is probably what you should do for the rest of your life as a career. Discover interests and explore what makes you happy. There’s nothing worse than waking up to go to a job you hate. Figure out what you love to do and life will show you a way how to make a living by doing it.
I hope to be able to add to these rules as our years go on. I am proud of you, Kid. I am proud of the struggles you are enduring. I am proud of the decisions you are making – even the wrong ones. Because it’s usually in the wrong decisions that you learn the biggest lessons and I am confident that every lesson you encounter you will take with you a valuable piece of wisdom that will only strengthen your character and mold you in to the Man you will become.
I want you to always remember… Life is full of amazing things. Always take a minute to smell the flowers by your feet. Feel the Sun on your face. Let the Rain cleanse your soul. Love with all that you have. Laugh with every breath. Live with purpose. Fight for your dreams. Reach for the Stars, Moon and Sun… Believe in you… cause I do. And remember, that I will always be here… right by your side… cheering you on.
Happy Birthday, Justin.
Love always & forever – your biggest fan,