dear joe

Dear Joe,

Today is your birthday. Today you turn 19.

Nineteen. That sounds so old, yet at the same time it sounds so young. One minute you were swaddled in my arms, winking up at me, the next, you’re driving yourself to work and running errands. You like “dropping some knowledge” on me, showing me that you still love to learn and that your curiosity about the world around you hasn’t stopped just because you’re out of high school.

This year has been a transition year for all of us, a year that has perhaps drawn us closer to each other than any other year. I’m not sure why that is, but Dad and I are beginning to see you as an adult, an equal. I mean, you will forever be my Joey/Just Joe/Joey Joe/ Joe Joe/Great Big Huge Boy/take your pick of nicknames, but you’re learning to take care of adult things now, enrolling yourself in your survival EMT course and applying to be a wildfire firefighter. You even ‘fessed up to having a girlfriend because keeping a secret and not telling us the truth about where you go on the occasional weekends that you venture out, keeping that a secret was eating you up.

You’re learning to take care of things on your own.

I see in you a jokester, a listener, a calmness. You still are amused by life around you, I think you always will be amused and laugh at the silliness that Life presents. You know when to be serious, but also when to not take yourself seriously. You are decisive and confident in your decisions. You’re ready to try new things (baking your first loaf of bread and cooking me supper one night while Dad was traveling!) and if you mess up, you keep trying till you get it right.

There are a million things I could tell you about what it’s like to get to be your momma, what a true gift you are to us all, but I think you already know that and that you will only become embarrassed.

Today is your birthday, and you are nineteen. Thank you so much for being my sidekick, my buddy, my helper, my “sunny, sunny boy”, my friend, my Great Big Huge Boy.

I love you,