Today is one of those days that you know is coming. It's inevitable. You can't stop it, no matter how much you try. You can put it out of your mind for a little bit, but it just sneaks up on you. Today is the day that my babies turn...gulp...18. (Insert long drawn-out dramatic sigh now.) What the farkle?!?! 18?!?! Who in the world said that that would be ok? While I have only had the privilege of being their mother for the last 13 years, I can't imagine them not being a part of my life.
I mean, seriously, have you ever seen such cuties?
They turned a single girl with two cats, into a mother. I never understood how strong a mother's love was until these guys walked into my life. DJ was the first one to call me "mom." My heart just about melted. I realized how important it was for me to be a mom, actually to be their mom. Coley was the first one to argue with me. (so shocking, right? lol) My heart got a little bit stronger then. I realized then that disagreements were only temporary, but love was permanent and unconditional. The first time that someone said something along the lines of "You aren't their "real" mom." I felt firsthand what they mean by the phrase, "Momma bear." Don't you ever question my motherhood to these kids...ever. Badness will happen. Trust me. I mean it...a lot.
DJ, with his sweet nature and funny (but totally lame) sense of humor makes me smile. I have seen him grow from a little boy into an amazing young man. When he was only 5 years old, he faced the monster that has taken many lives, cancer. He stared it down bravely and slayed the beast. I learned so much from him at that time. Despite the chemo and the steroids, he never lost his smile. He was such an inspiration to me. To see him live through that and maintain his kind and thoughtful manner put so many things into perspective. He has grown into a young man that fills me with pride. He is smart and athletic and handsome. But more importantly he is a good kid. He is thoughtful and considerate and loves God. And he is 18. (WHAT?!?! I say again.) He has been applying to colleges and hopes to become an elementary school teacher. That's a little bit different from his previous aspiration to become a zoo keeper (circa 1st grade). While he is a sweetheart and usually pretty mellow, he definitely has his moments of crankiness. When that happens watch out! Grumpiness and attitude from DJ are so infrequent that when it happens, nobody quite knows how to handle it or him. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often. He will deny it, in fact they both will, but Jake is his best friend. As much as they fight and argue with each other, they really would be lost without one another. It's kind of funny.
Here she is, my girl, my right-hand man, my dot, Coley. She had the prettiest red curls and big brown eyes when we first met. She was a little bit wary of me at first. She seemed to be hesitant to allow another girl in the house. She had been taking care of her boys and she didn't need me around. And then one morning, shortly before we got married, she looked at me and said, "My mom picked you." As simple as that, "My mom picked you." I looked at her questioningly and she said, "My mom talked to me last night in my dream and told me that she picked you for us. You are supposed to be our mom now. " And that was that. My heart simultaneously broke and grew. It broke for my little girl who had been through so much loss. And it grew, to the point of practically exploding, with love and joy that she had accepted me as her mom. We have been through a lot, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But through it all I have been her mom and she has been my daughter. That is a bond that will never break. I marvel that she didn't come out of me, she is so much like me in so many ways. That is probably part of the reason that we tend to bang heads every so often. That and a tremendous amount of hormones floating around, that will definitely do it too. She is so smart and driven that whatever she sets her mind to doing, she will accomplish it. Right now her sites are set on getting into college and medical school and becoming a pediatric heart surgeon. Well, ok then. If anyone can do it I know that my girl can.
Oh yeah, who had not one, but two kids named as the student of the month???? Umm yes, this girl right here! Yes, that's what I said. The wonder twins are at it again. (I call them that because people often wonder if they are really twins. Haha!) So, one final time, 18. My babies are 18. They have so many amazing experiences waiting for them, I am blessed to have a front row seat.
Happy birthday DJ and Coley! We love you!!!