Today you are 21 years old, which seems sort of impossible considering that I am only 25. You were the reason for a lot of firsts in my life, my first C-section, my first stretch mark, my first gray hair, the first time I ever truly realized that I could indeed kill another human being if they hurt you. Get the word out on that last one, cause I ain’t playing.
I was terrified I would be a horrible mother given the tornado of dysfunction that I grew up in. I guess I must have been pretty damn good, though, because you turned out way better than I ever could have expected. It’s possible all the Tom Petty we listened to when you were a colicky baby had something to do with it. Oh, yeah, and your dad. He was there, too.
Housekeeping isn’t quite your jam, but that’s ok. It may be your genetics. You come from a long line of women who’ve had very dusty bookshelves. Don’t sweat it too much, but you might want to clean at least often enough to prevent another Ebola outbreak. No pressure.
It should be noted that I am not at all bitter that you left me with Jojo and adopted the greatest cat in the history of the world. I’m really fine with that. I enjoy having my head stepped on every morning and being meowed at until I feed her majesty. Really, it’s cool.
I know I owe you that Ancestry.com membership that I promised you for Christmas. I haven’t forgotten. Rare tumors are expensive. I’m good for it. I swear. Well, at least, eventually I’ll be good for it. That tattoo, though, that is happening as soon as we sell the house. Just please promise me that you won’t get one of those Mike Tyson face tattoos.
Since you’re finally legal, it’s possible you might be getting your drank on tonight. DON’T DRIVE DRUNK OR DRIVE WITH ANYONE THAT’S BEEN DRINKING OR DRIVE PERIOD BECAUSE MAYBE THERE’S SOME DRUNK ASSHOLE DRIVING TOO. Just drink at home, BUT NOT TOO MUCH! BE CAREFUL! And, hydrate, child, hydrate.
I hope I’ve been a good enough mother that you feel compelled to pick a decent old folks home for me. Remember that time I chased down that neighbor kid that was bullying you? That’s gotta count for something. Crap, that was your dad that did that, wasn’t it? Well, pick a good home for him. Just at least promise me you won’t dress me up in funny outfits when I’m old and feeble.
All joking aside, happy birthday, kid. You really are something to behold. You have stellar taste in music, except for that shouty metal stuff you listen to, and you’re astoundingly well read. You’re an original. You’re clever and witty, downright punny. Your creativity blows me away. Though you’d never admit it, you’re bold and you’re strong and you’ve always had my admiration for that.
You seem unfazed by most things, but I know that heart of yours is tender and that brain is always thinking. You may look upon those traits as bad, but I promise you they can be the impetus for every noble and creative pursuit in your life. You are sensitive and you have depth and wisdom beyond your years. Those are all the things you need in life to change the world and you have and you will continue to. I promise you that.
I love you to the moon and back.
P.S. Go clean your room.