My son, my Sunshine, the very light of my life, my moonlight by night… today you turn 22. How did that happen?! It still feels like just the other day when I cradled you in my arms as a new-born. Yet we’ve lived many lives together, crossed many borders and traversed many oceans. For a few years now, you’ve been fully responsible for all your actions, choices, and decisions. I’ve watched you navigate 21, your litmus year into adulthood, and I’m proud of how you’ve handled it.
We’re proud of you son, first for your intrinsic worth as a person, but also because of the kind of child you are and the kind of young man you’re turning out to be. I had you rather young, but you made the job easy for me. You were always an easy child, always willing to help, always eager to please. You’ve truly been a constant delight. I hope I have not asked too much of you at your tender age. I need you to know that it’s okay to loosen up, to make mistakes, for it’s how we learn our most meaningful lessons.
We raise our children to fly the coop and see the world, and you’re doing that in great style. I took this job thinking it was for me, but soon enough you claimed it as your own, racking up miles in destinations, more than all of us combined. I love your adventurous independent spirit, going off to see the great big world all by your big self. I miss you when you’re gone, but I’m happy that you’re off living your life on your terms. It’s what I always wished for you, that you would understand the world is your oyster. That you would take the bull by its horns, and show us all how it’s done. And boy oh boy are you showing us!
I’m glad you’re a confident young man, standing tall and proud to be counted amongst your peers. You have countless skills and immense talent. I’m grateful for your studies and your ability to be my webmaster as we build our Grey Dynasty. I love the teacher-nature in you, telling me all about your lectures so I can learn alongside you, making me smarter right along with you.
I enjoy seeing your sketches and drawings laying around, a testament to your widely varied interests. I love how well informed you are on issues affecting your generation, it’s not often one finds a young man with such a well-rounded view of the times we live in; you truly have your pulse on what matters and I greatly enjoy our many debates.
For the first time in history as we know it, the pendulum is swinging the other way and you’re now coming of age in a world that’s gradually becoming a woman’s world. Remember to always be your sisters’ keeper. Be mindful of those that will still allow you to hold the door open for them like you do me, to help with their bags, to pick up the tab -always respect a woman’s choice. Uphold her dignity. Love hard, for there really isn’t any other way to love.
I’ve been keenly aware that a parent’s job is to prepare their child(ren) to face the future beyond the parent’s lifetime, to love them unconditionally, to encourage them and help grow their confidence. I have also learnt that children teach parents more than parents can ever teach children. I pray I’ve been teachable. I pray I’m doing a good job raising you, loving you, nurturing you.
I’m grateful you’ve trusted that we as parents know more than you do at an age when your peers think of parents as foolish. I pray we’ve done our best to prepare you for this brave new big world. We can’t wait to see what life holds in store for you; we pray for only good things.
Believe in a higher power, for life holds many mysteries, and often you’ll need to call upon God as you know him, to ease the walk of life. For such is the nature of life, that even the easiest of paths has some bends and curves just out of sight, some inconvenient unfolding. Should you encounter such an inconvenience, believe in God, as you know him, to get you through it. Believe also in your ability to overcome, always remembering that every win takes place in the mind, for the battle is won or lost there first. So guard your mind, as it is the pillar upon which you build your life. Guide your heart, for it is the wellspring of all wellbeing.
I know I’m not with you today as you have lectures and I am in Amsterdam for work, but dad is there so we’ve got it covered. I can’t wait to see you when I get back. All these many years gone by and it’s still my favourite thing to do; to hug you when I see you. It’s an honour to watch how you live your life with dignity as you figure out campus life in academia and friendships. What joy you bring us, what a blessing you are!
I pray that you are met with love and happiness wherever you go. I pray that you may always retain your right to life and liberty. I pray that you might always choose the path of least resistance and swim downstream. I pray that you understand the power of your thoughts and feelings; let those be your guide.
You make us so very proud of you son, raising you continues to be such a privilege to us; you make us make it look easy. Always remember the world is your stage, and even it cannot contain you. So spread your wings and fly high, for nothing stands in your way. May you always seek to live your best and happiest life. Love and blessings, mama and papa xoxo