Today you turn 17 years old. How is that possible?
You entered our lives on an early fall morning. After many months of causing all sorts of problems, your birth was calm and peaceful.
From the very beginning you were the kind of child every parent hopes to have. You slept through the night at six weeks, and only cried when you were hungry or tired. Always smiling, always happy, quick to cuddle. Holding you in my arms made me feel complete.
As you grew into boyhood, I realized how special you were. So full of compassion and empathy for everyone around you. Smart, thoughtful, sensitive, and kind. I often looked into your eyes and wondered what was going on in that little brain of yours.
And now here you are, on the verge of becoming a man. All of those sweet boyhood qualities have remained, but you've become so much more. You are strong, decisive, fiercely loyal, and determined. You're also a complete and utter pain in the butt - but that goes with the teenage territory. Your intelligence and quick wit save you most days.
In a few short years you'll be heading off into the next phase of your life, and I'm already wondering how I'll get through each day without seeing your smiling face.
As you turn 17, my advice to you is this: Enjoy every moment. Always listen twice as much as you speak - you think you know everything, but you don't. Be humble but be confident. Get up one more time than you fall down. Keep your sense of humor and never stop laughing. Whatever you are asked to do, do just a little bit more. Respect has to be earned. Stay positive and seek happy.
And whether you like it or not, I'll always see you as my sweet little boy, no matter how old you are. So deal with it.... Love, Mom