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When children are young the focus of their birthday is on the party with friends; invitations, theme, games, decorations, cake, gifts….. And maybe a separate celebration with family. I always tried to make my boys feel special on their birthdays, but a lot of work went into the celebration.

When children get older and celebrate their birthday away from you it’s different. For me, I get more reflective and sentimental about their life. I realize how much my life was enriched by them, and I wish I could go back and do it all over again. That’s what I’m doing today on my first baby’s 22nd birthday. He is far away, but he is very present in my heart and mind.

This post is in his honor, but also for all the moms out there who are missing their children.

Cheers to My Son on His Birthday

Cheers to this day, January 31st, the day when I became a mom. It’s the day when my life was changed beyond my comprehension and in ways I could not believe possible.

Cheers to this tiny baby whose light head rested softly in the space between my neck and shoulder.

Cheers to this baby who snuggled in my arms and cried when I put him down.

Cheers to this baby who climbed before he could walk and who started walking at ten months old never to slow down again.

Cheers to this toddler who moved ever so quickly and whose hugs were given on a quick flyby as he chased after another adventure.

Cheers to this little boy who transitioned seamlessly when we moved to England. Cheers to this little boy who, without hesitation, let go of my hand to join a new group of classmates.

Cheers to this boy who learned to read and comprehend math so easily. Cheers to this same boy who loved baseball and soccer and always checked to make sure I was watching.

Cheers to this boys who cultivated strong friendships, loved his family and was a positive role model for his brother.

Cheers to this boy who embraced life with vigor and excitement and who played with such passion.

Cheers to this kid who had more than his fair share of scrapes and bruises. Cheers to this kid who announced so valiantly that he thought it was time to make yet another trip to the ER to stitch up the newest gash in his skin.

Cheers to this teenager who shares my love of skiing and who races down the slopes while flying, twisting and turning off jumps.

Cheers to this young man who has compassion for others and deep loyalty to his teams.

Cheers to this young man who graduated from high school with high respect from his teachers, family and friends.

Cheers to this young man who left home to pursue a higher education and continue his passion for playing soccer and lacrosse.

Cheers to this man who grew up much too fast and will graduate this spring with a degree in Physics and Math.

Cheers to this man whose hugs are now longer and stronger than ever.

Cheers to this man whose sense of humor warms my heart because it is so reminiscent of his grandfather’s.

Cheers to this man who will always be my little boy, full of spirit and action, love and dreams!

Happy birthday, Rikley, as you turn 22 I know your future is as bright as you. Always know that you are loved beyond measure and my pride for you is monumental. Thank you for all the joy and memories you have blessed my life with.

PS. Remember to call home.

As the mother of two boys I’ve had two fears. The first is for their safety as they fearlessly tackled physical challenges. If you have boys you know what I’m talking about. They’ll climb on counters and jump off, luge on a skateboard down a steep neighborhood road, or sail off of every jump they can find on a ski hill. The second is that they will move far away and never come home to me. Now that my nest is empty the second fear is becoming greater than the first.

What are some of your favorite memories of your children?

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