A Letter to You Son as Your 16th Birthday Nears: Give Me Grace as I Begin to Let Go…

To My First Born,

It’s 11:15 at night, I’m sitting on the couch after just filling our wood stove, and the rest of the house is sleeping. It’s complete silence besides the crackling of the fire and the click of my laptop keys. In just a few days you’re turning 16 and truthfully I’m not quite ready. You’re off sleeping at a friends house (for the fourth or fifth night in a row that you’ve not been home). Your younger brother just got home about an hour ago after skiing with some friends. This is all new territory to me, you both being out all the time and rarely home. I’m sitting here snuggled in a blanket with the glow of our Christmas lights around me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how fast the past 16 years have gone. I remember the day you were born like it was only yesterday. It has certainly been a wild ride. We’ve learned so much together and for that I want to thank you. You’ve taught me so much about myself. You’ve at times truly saved me.

I can’t lie and say you turning 16 is no big deal because boy am I struggling. You’re hitting a milestone birthday in your life and I am sitting here still seeing the little baby I used to rock to sleep. I’d sit at night, holding you in your room, rocking in the chair, staring at each little part of you. The days at times have seemed long, but the years truly go by in the blink of an eye. I’ve had many conversations lately with friends and family about how when you’re preparing to have a baby everyone always gives you loads of advice. They share with you what to expect during birth. The best burp clothes, diapers, or onesies to buy. They’ll gift you the best strollers, bassinets, car seats, and baby carriers. You get loads of advice…even the advice you don’t want. But as the years pass the advice starts to dwindle. You grow from a baby to a toddler and people will often make comments about the terrible twos or how three is actually tougher than two. You grow into an adolescent and the advice changes into how to properly raise your children or address behaviors and temper tantrums. And forget it once you become a teenager…Us Mom’s get no advice…or we just hear people complain about how “kids these days have no respect” or you’ll hear the “back in my day we just….(fill in the blank)”.

So here I am…you’re 4 days away from being 16 and I’m falling apart. I have felt so lost. The tears have been flowing more than I’d like to admit. You see. You’re the one that made me a Momma. When I held you for the first time and your little hand wrapped around my finger my whole world changed. You were my best friend as you grew up. For the passed 16 years I’ve focused on teaching you all about life. I’ve watched you take your first steps, say your

first words, learn how to ride a bike, and how to be brave. As you’ve learned about all your firsts I was learning too. I was learning how to no longer think about myself, but to think about what you needed first. I learned how to survive on very little sleep and how to get through each day trying not to worry too much about you. I’ve learned how to live with a little piece of me forever walking around outside my body.

But…through all the firsts what no one tells you as a Mom is how to start letting go. No one tells us about the days that your son comes home and he tells you about his first love and how you can feel so happy and a little bit heartbroken at the same time. No one tells you how hard it is when you’re not the one he always runs to anymore. No one tells you how to prepare for the day that he drives away on his own. As each of these firsts start to pull you away bit by bit I feel a little piece of my heart pull away. For all these years I’ve been working so hard to teach you how to be strong, independent, brave, and courageous. I’ve taught you the skills to start building a life of your own and to chase your dreams. I’ve worked so hard to help you build your wings to fly…but in all this time I’ve not been preparing myself to let go. It’s the hardest part of being a parent, but especially a mother.

As you near your 16th birthday I want you to know I’m so beyond proud of the man that you are becoming. You’ve already faced so many ups and downs and you’ve faced it with such strength. While focusing on helping you grow and work towards achieving your goals I’ve not seen how each step I’ve taken to help you in this journey has been us going through so many firsts together. You’ve helped me learn how to become a Mother to you and your younger brother. You’ve showed me how unconditional a Mother’s love can be. You broke my heart open in ways that I could never even imagine. You’ve taught me how to be strong, fearless, faithful, and brave. You’ve taught me how to fight for what I know is right for you and your brother. You’ve taught me how to forgive (more than once). You’ve taught me how to have grace, patience, and understanding. You, along with your brother, have taught me how to chase my dreams, work hard towards them, and to never give up. For this I thank you.

In just days you’ll turn 16 and you’ll have a whole bunch of new responsibilities which means I have a whole lot more I’ll worry about. As you venture off on your own please be patient with me. I’m not ready to let you go, but I will. I am so beyond proud of everything you’ve accomplished and all the dreams you’re working towards. I know you’re excited for the new sense of freedom, but this is all knew to me too. I’m going to worry until I know your home safe. I’m going to wonder where you are, what you’re doing, and who you’re with so please let me ask the questions and not get too upset when I do. Remember that I ask because I love you and I worry. Remember that we’re learning together and I was once where you are, I know what you’ll face someday, and I’m ALWAYS here for you no matter what. Remember that I want you to dream big and chase your dreams which means making smart decisions and trying not to mess up too much. It’s okay to make mistakes, we both will, and we’ll learn together.

Son remember that I always, not matter what, love you with all my heart, and no one taught me how to be ready for this…so let’s give each other grace. God gave me you to be your Mom and I’m forever thankful.


You’re Mom xoxo

(Originally Posted January 1, 2023)

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