Bryce is my oldest son and the first child that I birthed. He is 20 years old today. It doesn’t seem possible.
Bryce came to me in the middle of a freak ice storm ….which I have written of before in this blog. Isn’t it amazing how us moms can forget that we put our lost sunglasses on our head…or forget to put the clothes in the dryer….but in our most hectic of days we can remember the moment we first gave birth. When I think about birthing Bryce and those feelings I experienced after he was born…I felt I wasn’t good enough….that I didn’t deserve him and that I was never going to measure up as a mom. I can tell you that those feelings actually never faded completely…because I often feel inept as a mom. But you somehow carry on and become the mom your kids need.
But of all of my children….I don’t know if it’s because he is the oldest…or if it’s just Bryce and I…we have a special connection. Bryce and I can look at each other from across the room and a feeling passes through us. We hug and we don’t have to say anything….we already know.
But as much as we have that connection….it’s painful when we don’t jive. Currently, Bryce is stretching his wings. Living on his own, going to college and working. He is paying his bills, making mistakes, making some bad choices…but also a few good ones. I don’t agree with everything he does…..but I can tell you that within him he is a good boy. I refuse to enable him and I won’t help him if he makes poor choices. He knows the boundaries. When I call him to ask for help…he says “sure mom, no problem…I will be there”….When I tell him that I will pray for him and that I love him….he tells me thank you and that he loves me as well. Even though he is not following God currently….he believes deep down and he tells me he likes the prayers. He just needs to find his own way and I believe he will one day. as we say in the Church ” His come to Jesus moment” will come.
A few weeks ago he broke it to me in a huge group chat with our closest friends and family that he was getting a few tattoos….LOL. ( he lives 2 hours away now…so most of our communication is through texting and we often participate in group chats). He was so nervous and thought it would be better for him to break the news in company..rather than just telling me on his own. I thought that was funny….he is an adult living on his own and he’s afraid to tell me he is getting tats? Really? What am I going to do about it? Ground him? Take away his dessert? LOL It’ s no secret that I am not a fan of tats…but it’s not my body and I don’t have control over what he is going to do. I just kind of chuckled.
So clearly, on some level he still doesn’t want to disappoint me? He does in some of his choices and he knows it….but he is also not private about the choices he makes because he knows that I will never reject him. So I feel good that he knows that. I have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut about certain things ( and he doesn’t want to hear it) …but he knows that I love him and won’t reject him…so I did something well.
What is funny is that he chose a tattoo that is an Icelandic symbol ( my grandmother is from Iceland…and we are all proud of our Scandinavian roots) it’s kind of like a compass type of a thing and its about choosing the correct path….and he said he chose it because it also went with the theme of the quilt I made him for graduation. Which was “oh the places you’ll go” ……I had no idea when I started the quilt theme for graduations that each of my kids would take it so seriously….they really do. Carl’s was “May the force be with you” and now Cole graduates this year and I keep wracking my brain as to what I am going to come up with for him and he won’t help me…..I pray God reveals it to me soon. He is expecting great things from me….the pressure!!
So all of those little things that I do for the kids that I think they don’t care about …sometimes they actually do care about. Bryce is one of those that pays attention to those details and I appreciate that about him. When I saw him a few weeks ago I gave him a bag of candy corn because I know he loves them…and he smiled and said “Oh I love candy corns”…just like when he was a little kid and I just felt joy rise up in me…because I loved surprising him like that when he was a little boy and he would also say something like that and he has the best smile and laugh. I love those flashbacks of little boy moments…it makes all of those painful moments worth it. Bryce was always loud and in our faces…come rain or shine…good mood or bad. Bryce had an infectious laugh and he loves to make people laugh now…even if it at my expense. LOL.
Bryce is also an animal lover. When he moved out of our house he got himself a puppy. I thought that was a mistake because he is not exactly stable….and a young kid? You don’t know how well the dog will be taken care of…you know? He can barely take care of himself…what about vet bills, shots, food, ect? Every time we see him he shows us pics of his puppy and he is very proud of him. I love that about him. I guess if the dog brings him that much happiness and the dog is being taken care of ….that’s good.
So we are navigating the relationship of parent of an adult….it’s difficult for both of us. I want to parent him and he doesn’t want me too…..LOL…so I have to learn in every transaction that we have to let go and let God. It’s probably taking me longer than it should because I am a mom. Even if I feel inept every-single day….I am still a mom. I must be doing a few things right…despite how I feel. 20 years ago I couldn’t have imagined what our lives would look like now….I am so thankful I got to be there for all of these 20 years and hopefully many-many more…..I want to see where his path will go.
So on this day, my Son is 20 years old and I am so proud of him. I am proud that he has made it t o 20…LOL. I am proud that he is in the process of finding his way….Oh the places he will go…..
Happy birthday, Bryce. I love you always and forever.