From a Mother to Her Son on His 13th Birthday
By Emily Ruiz
My Dearest Ethan,
I can’t believe you’re turning 13 years old. Seems like yesterday when I learned I was pregnant. Your dad and I were so happy! You made me a mommy and helped me discover how much I can love. Having you taught me what life was really about. To say that I love you just doesn’t seem enough. You, your sister and your brother are my world. You are all my heart!
I watched you the other day as you walked into the room. My tears started coming down as I hugged you. You were no longer my little boy and I realized your childhood was over. The days of me holding your hand to cross the street, watching you take your first steps, pushing your baby carriage, wiping your mouth – those days were now memories. And I wondered, did we do a good job? Will you look back and say you had a great childhood? My mom’s face came to mind. The many times she looked at me the same way I looked at you, wondering where the time had gone. We want so badly to hold onto those precious moments with our babies. I want to hold you tight and never let you go…
There’s so much I want to tell you about life, what to look forward to and what to be cautious of. I want you to know how much your dad and I love you. How proud we are of the young man you have become. We love your smile, your laughter and your determination to do well in basketball, baseball, school work, jazz and snowboarding. We love how respectful and kind you are. You light up our lives and remind us every day how wonderful God has been to us.
When you were two years old and fractured your femur, it was the worst 4 months of my life. To see you in a body cast broke my heart. As much as your dad and I suffered to see you that way, we were astonished on how determined you were. You didn’t let that heavy cast stop you. You dragged yourself to get around. I pray that you will always maintain that perseverance and that nothing and no one will ever keep you down.
As you enter the next phase of your life, we promise to give you enough room to find your own way. You will have ups and downs and make your own mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them and keep on moving. While I am filled with the fear of your growing independence and the hope that we are leading you in the right path, I’m also filled with great pride knowing we are on the cusp of the most amazing years of your life. As you start this journey into adulthood, I hope that my words will resonate within you and help guide you. Remember each decision you make has a consequence and the ones you make now, can and will impact the rest of your life. Never hesitate to come to your dad and I. WE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR YOU.
Some things I hope you remember:
- Thank God every day for all you have and don’t forget to pray.
- Never settle for less! Always strive for the best!
- Be a great big brother. Many friends will come and go in your life, but your sister and brother will always be here.
- Best part of turning 13 for you will be girls… Worst part of you turning 13 for me will be girls…
- Continue to be KIND.
- No one owes you anything. You must work hard to get what you want in life.
- Stand up for what you believe in.
- READ! There are a lot of people invested in what they can make you believe. Educate yourself. Knowledge is power!
- Pick your friends wisely. How many friends you have is not important. The quality of their character is. Your friends and one day your girlfriend should be people who inspire you. People who will encourage and motivate you to be and do your best.
- Your life will move toward what you’re constantly thinking about. So don’t think negative things. Think abundance, more than enough, success, happiness, and good health.
- Always be a gentleman. Always open the door or pull out the chair for a girl, young or old. Always let a lady go first and offer your seat. Yes that means when you’re taking the bus to school as well. Being a class act never grows old.
- Continue to be RESPECTFUL.
- Learn to save and manage your money.
- Never try to be like someone else. Don’t get hung up on who is popular or cool and who isn’t. TRUST ME it won’t matter when you’re adults. Just be who you are. You are unique, wonderful and incredibly smart.
- Always give a firm handshake and look people in the eye when you’re speaking to them.
- Always believe in yourself.
- There’s more to life than white rice and chicken. You need to eat VEGETABLES!
- It’s okay to cry.
- You can accomplish anything you set your mind on! The world is in your hands!
- BE HAPPY!
- Be grateful and always say thank you.
- Learn to dance salsa!
- Be careful what you put in writing. You will never be able to take it back.
- Never take or post pictures you don’t want anyone to see.
- Wake up each morning and say, “Today is going to be a great day! I can and I will!”
- Always call home. No matter what, your dad and I will always be here for you.
- Most importantly, observe your father. He’s a wonderful man – Intelligent, wise, compassionate and witty. He has integrity unlike anyone I have ever known. While I want you to grow into your own person, let him guide you. Learn from him. Be a sponge and absorb as much as you can. He is a role model that only comes once in a lifetime. Be grateful to God that he is your father as we are forever grateful you are our son.
- This was supposed to be 13 things I wanted to tell you…
Ethan, my son, I pray that you remain true to you – to who you are – as you continue to grow and develop into teenager and the man God created you to be. May you remain as comfortable and confident in your own skin as you are now. May you continue to follow your passions and your dreams, and may you always have the courage to do what is right in your heart. We are the Fabulous Five – EEeee! There are so many things I still want to say, but there will be other birthdays…
“You is kind, You is smart, You is important.”
Happy 13th Birthday…
Love you with all my being,