It seems just like yesterday I was counting down the days until you were going to be born and now I am counting down the days (14 days to be exact) until your high school graduation. Where has the time gone I keep asking myself? As I reflect back it seems as though time moved so slowly as I watched you go from a newborn to a young man. Eighteen years ago when I was blessed with my bundle of joy I never knew that I would love another human being so deeply. Our first meeting in the delivery room was a shocker because the doctor had informed us that we were having a baby girl during the ultra-sound. We had narrowed it down to two names, Deja and Aaliyah. I just knew that when I looked at your little face I would know which name was going to be perfect for you. But there was a slight unexpected twist in the delivery room.
I know you have heard this story a thousand times but it’s part of our history (laughing to myself). The doctor announced, “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” We were all in shock. Your grandmother, my mother, questioned, “Are you sure?” The Doctor seemed a bit confused; I believe his age was starting to affect his memory because he had completely forgotten that he had told me weeks before that we were having a girl. What was I going to do? I had not chosen or even considered any boys names. It wasn’t until the day we were set to take you home that I finally chose the perfect name, Devin. One of the nurses brought me a book with baby names, I looked at all the boys’ names and nothing seemed to catch my eye until I came across the name Devin, which had the meaning, “Poet”. I looked at your sweet sleeping face and knew that the name Devin was meant to be your name.
Becoming a Mother seemed to come naturally to me. I truly enjoyed holding you, feeding you and just taking care of all your baby needs. As a baby you were so content and so easy to take care of, nothing seemed to bother you. When it came time for me to return to work I truly disliked the idea because I did not want to spend one minute away from my baby boy. We were blessed because we found a dependable and caring babysitter. Before I knew it, you were rolling over, crawling and taking your first steps. The joy I felt watching you attempt to walk as you smiled and chuckled so contentedly just filled me with so much happiness.
The first year of your life seemed to zip by. Five days before your first birthday the unthinkable happened, my High School sweet heart, your father was killed. The tragic event shocked the family and brought life to a standstill. Grief had taken over and although I had experienced the death of a family member and a close friend before, the pain was so different. It almost felt as if someone was choking my heart and stopping it from beating. I questioned God. How was I going to raise a little boy by myself, a boy needs his Father? The Lord, with a gentle hand, assured me that it was going to be alright, I would not be alone. Our family has truly been a blessing during such a dark and scary time. The one thing I am grateful for through that horrific time was that you were too young to even know what was going on. But then on the other hand, you were so young that you would have no memory of your father. Over time, you have heard stories of how he was such a sweet guy, the kind of man who would give a stranger the shirt off his back if they were in need. But stories surely can’t compare to your very own memories. The one thing I want you to know is that he loved you and enjoyed sitting you on his lap and reading books. The two of you would sit like that for hours and I would just watch from a far. That’s a memory that I will cherish forever and one day when you have children of your own I will give you the Mickey Mouse book that was your favorite that I saved so you could read it and make memories with your children.
Over the years, as you started growing from a toddler into a boy and a boy into a teenager; your compassion and loving heart started to reveal to me what kind of man you were becoming. Your love for the Lord and your need to put others needs before your own, truly inspired me to want to give back. When the opportunity presented itself, you volunteered to become a mentor and part of the Big Brother and Big Sister program through our school district. You came to me and said, “Mom, I want to be there for a young boy who is in need of a positive male role model because I know what it’s like to not have a Dad.” And I thought to myself, wow this kid keeps amazing me. After going to the YMCA camps for the summer, you wanted to join the Counselor in Training program so you could be a camp counselor, not only have you received so many outstanding reviews from your leaders at camp for the wonderful job you have done, you have impressed the Camp Leaders with your maturity and compassionate soul by volunteering to work with the children with special needs. You, my son have a special gift with children and have a natural way of connecting with them. This summer is your first summer as a counselor and your first time having a job. I know you will make a difference with each child you work with this summer and assist with making their camp experience one to remember. I look forward to watching you pursue your dreams to graduate college and become a Physical Therapist who works with children with special needs.
At home, with your brothers and sisters, you are everything to them. They all love you so much and want to become you when they grow up. They brag about you all the time. The special things you do to make sure they have a positive male role model in their life since their Dad and I have separated, touches my heart; like agreeing to take your baby sister to the “He and Me Cake Contest” so she could participate because this is an event for students and their fathers (you guys even came in first place in your cake category!) And, the way you are with your baby brother who has cerebral palsy. As soon as you come home you come in and say hi to him and hang out with him on a daily basis no matter what’s going on. You signed up to be one of the Seniors to volunteer so you could be part of the annual Fishing/Cook Out that the Fairfield School Distract has for all the students who have special needs because you wanted to be there for Jordan and make sure he had an amazing field trip. It’s those sacrifices you make on a daily basis to help out that makes me proud to be your mother. You might not know this, but I hear you when you are giving advice to your siblings about how to help out around the house and how to stay out of trouble with me. I just listen and smile. This shows me that you have been listening over the years and now understand the advice and guidance I have been giving you.
I know on graduation day I am going to be filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am going to be so proud of you because you are graduating from High School and we as a team have made it. But the other part of me will be sad because I know that you are growing up and soon will be going off to college without me. My little boy isn’t so little anymore, matter of fact you are now my 6’2 feet very tall little boy (I know you are 18 years old but you will always be my little boy). As you close one chapter of your life and get ready to start a new one, remember I will always be your mother and you will always be my baby. The little boy who stole my heart, who makes me laughs and who can never be replaced. My love for you is unconditional. I will always be your number one fan and your loudest cheerleader. And no matter the distance, we are forever mother and son. Quoting one of your most memorable sayings when you were a little boy, “You make my heart happy”. I love you my sweet adorable son, now go and conquer the world.
I will love you forever and always,