First Birthday
That right there is my first born son at his First Birthday Party. I remember I started planning that party when he turned six months old. I couldn’t wait for my boy to turn one. I couldn’t wait to celebrate the first year of his life.

Oh, what an incredible year that it was. I loved every minute of being a new mother. Back then, I don’t think I could have understood the moms who write about how hard it is being a mother. It wasn’t hard for me. Sure, there were moments that were difficult. There were times that the crying became overwhelming. But those times with my first born son were few and far between. (The second child? TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE.) That boy was the most laid back, mellow, sweet spirited baby a mother could ask for. And I’m not saying that to sugar coat the experience of becoming a mother at the age of 22. I’m not saying it to be all “children are a blessing!” I’m saying it because it’s simply the truth.

I loved being a mom. I reveled in it. I felt like it was what I was born to do. And I believe it’s all because of the sweet spirit of my son. He was always happy, but quiet. He never fussed much. He wasn’t demanding or difficult. He always seemed content and laid back, as if he was habitually high on The Pot.

Planning his birthday parties has always been one of the highlights of being his mom. I’ve loved watching him enjoy being showered with attention on his big day. I’ve felt pride and unspeakable love as I’ve watched him blow out the candles on a cake. How lucky, how absolutely lucky I’ve been to have another year with this boy. And there aren’t words that can begin to express how I felt watching him walk around school with an orange crown made of construction paper, glue and glitter.
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As my son approached teenage-hood, my feelings for his birthdays began to change.. A day that once brought me pure joy and happiness now was mixed with tears and sadness. I suppose that’s part of being a mother– learning how to accept that they’re only children for a season and your job is to raise them to be the best people they can possibly be. But, no one really, truly tells you how difficult and painful it is. People say “enjoy them while they’re little! They grow so fast!” And you nod your head and say “I know! They’re growing so fast!” But, until your teenager fills out his highschool “career goals” and checks the “police officer” box or until he starts locking his bedroom door and coming out all sweaty and red in the face (HOLD ME) you can’t understand how meaningful those words are. “Enjoy them while they’re little” is so cliche, but, oh parents of little ones, Enjoy them while they’re little.

One day, one day you’re just going to look back at pictures of them and you’re going to sob because your heart aches at the same time as it soars. In the blink of an eye, the little baby that you once held in your arms is  a beautiful, thoughtful, kind, hilarious human being who you’d want to be friends with even if they weren’t your child because they are THAT AWESOME– but my GOD, what you wouldn’t give to go back in time and hold them tightly in your arms while sniffing their sweet baby breath.
The annual "This is what I looked like when my mom woke me up on my birthday" shot.  Happy 15th Birthday, Son.
(I have a tradition of taking their pictures first thing in the morning on their birthday. I want to remember EXACTLY what they looked like the day they turned a year older. This was taken at 6:45 this morning.)
Happy 15th Birthday, Nunu. I love love love you and as sad as I may feel about you being another year closer to adulthood, today, I celebrate you.
I celebrate the day you came into my life.
I celebrate every memory we’ve made together.
I celebrate your love of music.
I celebrate your kind gentle spirit.
I celebrate everything that makes you the beautiful person you are fifteen years after the first time that I laid eyes on you.

67 thoughts on “Fifteen.

  1. Ines Delapi

    Thank you for making me stop and appreciate my little boy just a little bit more today.

  2. Kay

    Oh Y he is turning into a man! I know the heartache of that. I only had one and he was as you described so imagine my surprise when grandchild #1 was the same docile easy going kid. Grandkid #2? I don’t know where he came from but I think, during those 3 hour scream fests, that hell is missing a devil (forget the angel/heaven quote).
    He is handsome! Happy B-day!

  3. jan

    You said “Enjoy them while they’re little” just seems so cliche, but, oh parents of little ones, ENJOY THEM WHILE THEY’RE LITTLE IS A WARNING!! One day, one day you’re just going to look back at pictures of them and……
    Don’t you know what comes next that is sweeter, more “awesome” and the perfect answer to growing older????? GRANDCHILDREN!!!! OMG just you wait!!

  4. Melanie

    He is growing up soo fast! They all are.. OMG..not to make you feel worse.. but another year and he can get his license.. Wow..

  5. Angel

    That was beautiful. As a mother of 2 boys I am always so touched by the things you write. Happy Birthday to your son! What a blessing.
    I hope at 21 you still go take his picture first thing in the morning, those are the memories that will stay with him and he’ll look back and laugh and love how wonderful his mother is, and how much she loves him.

  6. Karen E

    Oh that nearly brought tears to my eyes! My oldest son turns 14 at the end of the month and I think he is such a special kid, so sweet and smart but also growing too fast. It’s both wonderful and tough to watch them grow.

  7. AmyM

    The boy who first made me a mother is going to be 8 in a few weeks.
    My daughter will be starting Kindergarten this fall.
    My baby can walk up the stairs without holding onto my hand or the railing.
    And I still wonder how the time has managed to go by so quickly…

  8. Mamacita

    Hon, my kids are in their twenties and I still create Christmas stockings and Easter baskets for them.
    And even though they giggle at them, they love them. How do I know? They asked me to never stop.
    My mother still creates stockings and baskets for my siblings and me. The same stockings and the same baskets she bought for our very first holidays.
    Don’t ever apologize for sentiments and cliche’s about your children. When they’re old and look back on their childhoods, they’re going to remember these things with great joy and even a little reverence, that Mommy loved them so much she had to show it in both big and little ways.
    You’re doing well, Y. Really, really well.

  9. MammaLoves

    Now I have to cry too. My youngest is four and I’m already sad that he isn’t my sweet baby anymore.
    He’s a beautiful boy. Just like his mamma!!

  10. Christina

    OMG HE LOOKS 18! He’s so handsome…
    Its great you do this so that they can look back on what you were like as a parent when they are parents. Happy B day Andrew!!!

  11. JenniferB

    I had a happy/sad moment like this a month ago when my oldest, a girl, turned 12. I laughed with her while buying her first bra a while back and never told that I cried alone, later, about the very same thing. It is hard to have our sweet, sweet babies grow up. Thanks for putting it all so eloquently into words.

  12. Corrie

    I have two boys, who are 20 months apart and a daughter. I often read your blog to see how my life is going to be in a few years. You write about it so beautifully that I almost can’t wait for them to get bigger. My oldest son is going to be 7 at the end of the month and I don’t know if I want that to happen. I might cry, but now I know that’s okay. Happy Birthday!

  13. Shana

    OMG, I have to go hug my 2-yr-old! Except she’ll wonder why I’m crying – maybe I should wait a second. I often wonder what she’ll be like when she’s “older” (whenever that is – starting Kindergarten, going to the park with her friends by herself, driving a car, having a baby), but I don’t want to lose the baby she is so quickly. It makes me try a little harder to forgive my own mother for STILL treating me like I’m her little kid. In a mother’s eyes, her children are always little, I think.
    Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  14. jesseeezmom

    Once again, after reading your post, I have happy tears! My “baby” will be 23 next month and could totally relate to everythhing you posted and I am so very Thankful I heeded THE WARNING- they grow up so fast! It seems like yesterday that we were walking into the first day of kindegarten and in May she will be graduating college. I went from planning the perfect Little Mermaid party to Holy Cow! a perfect “21st” in Las Vegas to college graduation party. The older WE get the quicker time goes. Yes it seems cliche but is so very true. Thank you for your blog I really enjoy it!!

  15. lani

    Happy Birthday, handsome! It’s beautiful to read how much joy you’ve brought to your mother’s life. Hugs to you, Y.

  16. Denise

    My firstborn son turns 15 in three weeks. I could completely relate to every word of this post. Happy Birthday to your boy!

  17. Becki

    That really brought tears to my eyes!! How sweet. It makes me feel sad already to think that my boys are no longer babies. One will be 5 in may and the other is 6 1/2. I just hope I can be a good mother to them.

  18. Karly

    So, when he locks his door and the comes out sweaty and red faced? He’s just doing push ups in there right? I mean thats what fifteen year old boys do, RIGHT? I’m scared. My son is growing up and soon he’ll be locking doors as well.
    I really love your early morning picture tradition. I wish I had done that as well.

  19. Suzy Q

    This was really nice to read. You’re a wonderful mother, Y.
    If you think time has flown by at this point, blink a few times and he’ll have a baby of his own. I know you probably want to punch me in the face for saying that, bit it’s as true as telling mothers of young children to cherish their kids while they’re little.
    My best friend, Kelly, whom I’ve known since 9th grade, had her first grandson, born of her first son, six months ago. The circle does continue, and so you will yet have another baby to love someday, probably too soon for you to imagine. You’re going to be a fabulous grandma! (I know, again with the punching of my face.)

  20. JaniceNW

    Muahahahaha. Now the fun really begins. Sad to say but there are many times I don’t “like” my teenage sons at all. Karly? Pish ups? Bwahahaha

  21. Y

    Pushups! haha. More like “concentrating really hard trying to decide which college he wants to go to.”
    Because that TOTALLY makes you sweat and requires locking doors, YES?

  22. Maria

    Happy birthday, Nunu!
    ” How lucky, how absolutely lucky I’ve been to have another year with this boy.”
    This line has me crying. Communicates exactly what I missed in not having a child.

  23. Girl On A Mission...

    I remember turning 15. I couldn’t wait to turn 16. 17, 18, 19….and now, I’m 30! Imagine how quickly time flies. I remember when I had my 10th birthday party- I cired for hours because I wanted my mother to order KFC for the birthday meal. Meanwhile, ordering KFC for 40+ kids was a costly adventure and one which they could not afford- and being a child, I did not grasp that concept. It was easy, go to the store buy the chicken and bring it home for a feast for everyone to enjoy! Then came the party….sandwiches were displayed on side tables and alongside the cake…no KFC. I was a sad girl that day. I did not like birthdays at that point.
    Mother “let’s cut the cake first”
    Me “Mommy, thats backwards, where is Dad?”
    Mother “Happy birthday to you…….”
    **in walks father with the token bucket of KFC**
    Me “OH MY GOD KFC”
    **insert lots of tears and laughter**
    Me “How cool is this?”
    Mother “Happy birthday my dear, you are only a child once”
    **meanwhile, how selfish was I?**
    To this day, I will always remember the sacrifices my parents made for us when we were children….it is only in our adult years that we are able to appreciate their guidance, support and opinion.
    I hope that your son will do the same 🙂
    Happy Birthday!

  24. Tracy D

    Oh boy. My daughter turned 14 recently. What a day. I alternated crying and being so proud of the young woman she has become. I really don’t want to think about my little boys getting this old… sigh…
    Great post! Happy bday!!

  25. Kristin

    Beautiful post. You’ve made me appreciate my little guy even more, if that’s possible!
    Happy Birthday to your son!

  26. Hannah

    So lovely. I think one of the best things about the blog culture is these beautiful letters to our children – what a rare gift for them to have.
    Happy birthday to your handsome boy.

  27. Amber

    Y, your so LUCKY!!! As is your family!! Your a wonderful woman and your family is amazing! 🙂 You & Tony have done a wonderful job raising your family so far & I know you’lll keep doing a good job. Good Lord knows that I have the hate/love relationships with birthdays! WELL HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! and Happy Hate Growing Up Momma! Also Y, I read your health post, i just wanted to let you know thatyou’ll always been in my prayers and I totally understand not feeling like your getting better. Hopefully things will turn around, bfore you get your house filled up with kiddos that will eat 10 days worth of food in 1 (oh right thats called Summer Vacations LOL) HUGS

  28. Brandi

    Simply beautiful. I have 2 sons and a daughter too and this post really took me back to a time when my own babies (who are 18, 15, and 13) were babies. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Enjoy them while they’re little. This motherhood thing is so bittersweet, isn’t it? While you are proud of the individuals they have become, your heart breaks a little with each passing year.

  29. McKenzie

    I’m completely teared up here! I was watching some home videos of my baby boy on the computer just yesterday and was marveling at how quickly time passes, being tickled by his baby noises and so sad that those times are over at the same time. He’s only 16 months old, so I imagine the feeling of heartache will only get stronger. Two months away from baby #2 – I can’t imagine two times the sadness as they both grow older!

  30. valeta

    Now I am crying!
    I just read the birth story over at sweet-juniper and now this.
    This is so so sweet Y! I feel like I am supposed to say Congratulations or something, but I not sure what is appropriate. 😀
    My first baby turns 5 next month. I don’t know where the hell 5 years went.

  31. Jenn

    Oh I feel sad for my poor Mom now. We are all grown and gone! Most of us don’t even live in the same state! Uh-oh, not to traumatize you. I’m sure your children will always live 2 blocks away. 😉
    Anyway, this is a really sweet post. Happy birthday to your first little boy.

  32. kathryn

    This is really beautiful. Thanks for capturing this very complex emotion for us. Its like there should be one word for it (germans and japanese seem really good inventing these type of words)- the sad/happy emotion of watching your most precious creation blossom. The desire to just freeze everything as it is right now, or at least pack it away to take out and savor at any time. I guess that’s why we have artists, photographers, and most importantly- good writers like you. To capture all this mushymushiness so eloquently.

  33. Jamie

    You made me cry. My baby turns 3 next week and my oldest turns 6 in June. I turn into a blubbering idiot right before their birthdays. So proud and ready for them to grow up, but sad, too.
    I love the idea of taking a photo first thing in the morning on their birthdays you awesome mama you.

  34. supertiff

    i celebrate the chance to be given a glimpse of the love you have for your children.
    posts like these?
    some people might say they are cheesy or indulgent…but these posts are what it’s all about.
    a little more love certainly isn’t going to hurt the world: so, thanks, for sharing these thoughts.
    the bday morning picture is AWESOME.

  35. KarateMom

    Wow. What a picture. He’s fantastically handsome!
    What a great tradition, too! I wish I’d read this post before today, because today is my son’s 5th birthday and I would have started that tradition TODAY!

  36. Linda

    You have such a beautiful family, I absolutely love reading your blog. You make my day.
    I am probally your oldest reader. I am a grandmother of 3 boys, 11, 7 & 18 months. I, myself had only girls. Let me tell you that being a “MIMI” has been so wonderful. What people told me that you think you couldn’t love anyone any more that you do you own children didn’t seem possible, but let me tell you it is so true. The one thing is that it is a different depth of love. I felt that when my girls were grown I would be so lost, but then came the boys and I am as happy as ever.
    Just think of how beautiful your grandchildren will be.
    P.S. Hope you have a great day

  37. E. Peevie

    Loved this Post of Appreciation, Celebration, and Love.
    I remember when C. Peevie was an infant, I used to feel sorry for my friends whose kids were older and klunkier, who didn’t have babies anymore.
    Now that my youngest is 7, and my oldest is 12.5, I realize that every age is great and wonderful and painful and difficult. And even though I miss my babies, I am so very grateful that I’m done with the baby phase.
    Thanks for a beautiful post.
    E. Peevie

  38. Redneck Mommy

    Aw, Y, you have just so eloquently articulated why I am so desperate to have another kid.
    Here’s to many, many more birthdays for your beautiful Nunu. He’s gorgeous. May he only bring light and joy into your life. Always.

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