So I was thinking…about my Michael. He turns 16 years old today! I don’t know what it is about 16, but it just seems like he’s too old too soon for me. He’s a sophomore in High School who has his own way of thinking. He’s about to get his driver’s license, and he’s waiting on his first paycheck that he earned all on his own. He’s wanting to spend more time with his friends, and less time with Paul and I (understandable), and he’s questioning everything.
It seems like yesterday I was holding him in my arms and staring into his deep brown eyes and falling instantly in love. Michael was a beautiful baby. People would stop me all the time and tell me how cute he was and far be it from me to argue. He was such a happy child. I can still see him smiling when I gave him his “Prince Philip” cape (literally made out of a red pillowcase and velcro dots) so he could play the part of the hero in the movie Sleeping Beauty. He would hop onto his brown plastic rocking horse (named Brown), and with plastic sword in hand he’d “ride” like he was going to save the day. He would always make me pretend to be asleep on the couch and then he’d wake me with a kiss. Then we’d dance along with Princess Aurora and Prince Philip to the song at the end of the movie. I would be holding him on my hip and he’d be laughing and laughing as we twirled around the room.
Then came hockey…and everything changed. Paul and I gave him his first pair of Fisher Price roller skates along with a Little Tikes hockey stick and that was it. No more rocking horse, no more dancing. He was off…the speed, the thrill of the game, the wind on his face as he whipped down the ice. It was more than he could have dreamed, and to this day he is still obsessed with hockey! He’s got a keen knowledge of the game, and he puts his whole heart and soul into it every time his skates touch the ice. It’s his passion. I love to watch his face when he’s playing. There is just a complete look of happiness and contentment on it. It never fails to make me smile.
Just before Michael turned five years old, his whole world changed with the arrival of his little brother, Danny. Michael was so excited, and he took his role very seriously. I remember taking him to a “How to be a Big Brother” class at the hospital. He was listening intently and he even asked questions! I know he’s my son, but I have to say he is the best big brother ever! Even though he is a teenager, he still goes into Danny’s room at night and kisses him goodnight and tells him he loves him. My heart just about explodes when I see this. They have a bond that nothing can break, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I’m trying so hard to let him go and be his own man. I struggle every day with making it a point to not do everything for him, to let him make his own decisions, mistakes, and celebrate his own personal triumphs. I need to remind myself that 16 may be the end of one phase of our lives, but it is also the beginning of another…and it’s an exciting one for him at that!
I know that I will always be able to look into those deep brown eyes and see the precious little boy I fell in love with 16 years ago, but I will also see the man he is becoming and no matter what, he’ll always be MY precious boy…my gift from God…my life.
Happy Birthday, Michael! I love you with all my heart and soul!