Today is my son’s 9th birthday. NINE. Wow.

Our “little man” is changing. He is so much his own person these days rather than the picture-perfect little preppy gent I started him out to be. And it’s okay with me. Ironically, between those early days of motherhood and now, I am not exactly as “inside the lines” as I used to be. To top that with more irony, I am actually closer today to the person I was as an uninhibited young girl. When I became mom, I thought I needed to reinvent myself. Be like the others. Do as the Romans.

And there is my little guy, doing his thing right now at the age of nine. He doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about being judged by others. I like that. I admire this one. He’s got moxie. Most of the time he’s a real bugger to deal with, but all the time he is true to himself. He has interests. Passion. Insight at his age that blows me away. He has character. And hopefully a mom who can honor him for who he is no matter how much I would prefer to cut his hair and throw a pair of khakis on him.

We have rules here, and family standards. There are limits to what can be acceptable as it is first and foremost my job to instill a value system in my kids that will help them navigate life beyond this home. But on this journey, I hope I can temper my desire that the world will embrace my son with an even deeper desire to watch my son embrace the world with confidence in himself.

So happy birthday baby. You have taught me so much. I think you are one very special little guy, and I hope you never, ever change. I will always support your goals and dreams.

This is YOUR life, live it for you. I love you.

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