Today, in a land far away on the other side of the planet, my son is turning twenty-two

That little boy who made me a mother all those years ago:
(That date on the left is not correct, just for the record, but that belly is pretty awesome don’t you think? ๐Ÿ™‚
Twenty-two years ago from yesterday Dave and I were walking around Babies-R-Us after work in the city (Washington D.C.) anxiously anticipating when contractions would start.  I was wearing one of Dave’s big button down shirts (way before they started realizing that attractive pregnancy clothing was actually a possibility), and we were bursting with excitement to meet our baby boy.  A boy who made his grand entrance early the next morning with the sweetest, pensive face and huge hands, one who I clad in jean overalls with big buckles the first moment I could and snuggled him close with all the enthusiasm and love and GRATITUDE that could possibly be mustered.
I was a mother.

I was HIS mother. 

And I felt like I must be the most lucky person in the whole wide world.
And now, twenty-two years later he’s a boy who has now found his own amazing wife:
And is living out an adventure like no other.
It is no secret that I adore this boy of mine.  He was the first version of my heart walking around outside of me and it’s raw for me to let him go.  Always.  There are lots of “letting gos” with children I’ve learned to my sorrow.  But I’ve also learned the interlaced joys with those “letting gos” that make them all worth it.
I decided to switch up my tradition of writing down “things I love about my kids” on birthdays after they turn twenty-one.  (Since Max is my first I can make new traditions ๐Ÿ˜‰
Instead, I’ve been pondering about what made him that man I love so much today.
Was it all those summer scout camps where he learned to build fires and figure out wilderness survival?

Was is the bleach-orange hair days? ๐Ÿ˜†

Was it the fact that he was surrounded, always, by all those little sisters?

And that he was always so good to them?

Or the fact that he passed up his dad in height long ago?


I love to think about all the things that have happened these twenty-two years to make him such a good version of himself.

His service:

His friends:

(I just have a picture of those three for now, but boy, all of them have been such a huge part of building up this boy of mine.)

Of course we can’t forget his hideous animal shirt stage:

His triumphs:

And determination:

 And hard work:

And his defeats:

His comings:

His goings:

And goings again:

And coming back again…always with new insights and depth…and love.

His choices:

And excitement:

All mixed in with some sadness and loss too:

Yep, all those things mixed together have made this boy a man.

One I couldn’t love more if I tried.

I’m the luckiest to call him mine.

Heres to he and Abby who are braving their way through China this summer.

Here they are en route to that great unknown:

Abby flying solo figuring out the metro system since, for now, they have such different work schedules:

A little market:

Love this little pamphlet that Abby sent a picture of (she’s teaching English):

I love that google translation that gets her so well…”with stars…ready to explore unknown world.” 

So happy they get to explore that unknown world in China and beyond together.

Max’s desk at work:

Running club:

(is it me or does one of those people stand out a little??  Ha!)

Abby at her work:

(I’m betting those kids adore her!)

And here they are at the Pearl Tower lining the Bund…what feels like our old stomping grounds:

What a way to spend a birthday, right?  Learning I think even more than he bargained for.

Happy Birthday Maxwell David!  Love you around the world a million times over.  

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  1. Oh I love this because I hope my little 4.5 yr old turns out something like your Max when he's 22 (but he probably won't be quite as tall). He's my oldest and has two little sisters that he loves and takes care of aaand wrestles and annoys.

  2. I have a friend who sends flowers to mothers on the birthday of their eldest child. "Happy Becoming a Mother Day!"

    Is it me or the Max desk photo – his legs can't possibly fit under the desk?!

  3. Sweetest post! No doubt that YOU as his wonderful mother are part of the reason he has become such a wonderful young man!

    And how sweet and brave are he and Abby (well especially her since she didn't serve a mission or know the language) to be out in that big universe learning and growing together! I bet that experience is SO GOOD for their marriage…they only have each other to lean on and not family and are going through so many new things…what an incredible BLESSING!

    Good job kids…and Mama(s) – Abby's too.

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