In my mother’s heart I should be mourning right now. Today the boy who first made me “mother” is turning 16. Instead of snuggling softly in my arms, my mind in awe of his peaceful straight-from-Heaven demeanor, his towering 6’5” frame makes me feel small. My mind is now in awe of the man he is becoming. Who is polite and kind and makes good choices…. Despite my plunders as a mother who is trying to figure out this parenting gig with him as my first guinea pig. I should be devastated that my only boy is done with scouts forever. That his beloved blanket has gone from this: …to this:…and is now nothing but a faded memory from that little boy so long ago. Gone are the days of hauling his cello to and from school: …and little league teams of every sort. …and being able to squish him into a pumpkin. Joy School days whisk through my mind. And images of the ever-patient big brother with sisters constantly surrounding him: Yes, my mother’s heart should be squashed and ripped in two because my baby has gone from this: To this: To this: …while I blinked. So why can I hardly help myself from letting that slow smile I see so often mirrored in his face creep across my own? Maybe it’s because I never knew back then how much more fun things would get. I thought I needed to hold onto that babyhood and boyhood with all my might (which of course I always will). But who he is becoming is even better. And instead of my heart being squelched it is growing by leaps and bounds every day. A few months ago I was driving him to school. He had missed the bus. I was frustrated with him because he was letting volleyball consume his life and interfere with his grades. I was huffy. I was worried about his motivation. I was worried I was failing as his mother. I was pleading with Heaven to help me help him. He plugged in his iPod and Coldplay’s “Fix You” floated out into our silence. I’ve always liked that song, but that morning with the sun streaming through the windshield and my eyes welled up from lack of sleep and worry, it spoke right to my heart. “When you feel so tired but you still can’t sleep…” “And the tears come streaming down your face…” “When you lose something you can’t replace…” “Lights will guide you home…” “I will try to fix you.” And as the beat got going and I blinked out silent tears behind my sunglasses I thought about how much I wanted to “fix him.” To turn him into who I think he’s supposed to be. But quickly I realized I wasn’t “fixing” him at all. He was “fixing” me. He has taught me more than I can say, this oldest child of mine. Through the peace he exudes. The slow smile. The calm demeanor. The sparkle in his eyes. His quick wit when I need a laugh. His thankful attitude. I loved that baby boy of mine with my whole heart. But that heart of mine keeps expanding to fit that huge boy he’s become inside. And I’m so grateful he’s there to help “fix me.” Happy Birthday dear Max. Love you forever.