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One girl, one life, one world shared.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Man I've Raised

It's been sixteen years to the day since I met my son. It was his 2nd birthday party, he was coming back to live with his biological mother permanently (he'd been in foster care since he was a baby).

It seems somehow this kid knew from moment one I would be his mom some day.

I was sitting on his mother's couch, next to my then-boyfriend (now ex-husband), his biological father. When he came in the door, his father called out to him, excited to see him. He came running to the couch, we all expected him to leap into his father's arms. Instead, he leapt into mine: some 18-year-old girl he'd never met who happened to be sitting next to his father.

"Well, hi, sweetie!" I exclaimed, less surprised since I'd already had his sister leap into my arms and soon after call me, "Mom."

"Hi!" he responded and then climbed down and ran away.

I will confess, this kid won me over from the beginning.

Since his sister was already calling me "Mom" or "Mommy Drea," he never saw the point in the formality. He simply always called me "Mom," unless he was mad at me, then he would use my whole name: "An-dee-ya, 'top!" was an oft heard phrase when we were playing and he didn't like what I was doing. It always made me shake with silent laughter as I tried not to be rude and laugh at his upset. But he was just so darn cute!

We were parted when he was three years old and I saw him briefly, for about 30 minutes, when he was five. When he was seven, my husband and I swung by his house one day to see if we could visit the kids. He stood at the sliding glass door to his house, pointing in confusion at my husband and I. I saw his sister speak to him and then he threw the door open, "Hi Daddy, hi Drea, hi Drea!!!!" waving wildly, he was so excited. I was amazed he even remembered who I was.

It would be another two years before he and his sisters came to live with me permanently:

Two years before he came to me and said, "You know how my sister has a different name? She said it was a baby name you gave her, like what you would have named her had you been her mom from birth. I want you to be my mom, too. Can I have a new name?"

And I let him go through my baby name list and choose a new first and middle name for himself. The name that would become his in the adoption.

Now, here we are, over eight years later and my son is turning 18.


I was having a conversation with him just the other night and he asked, "Mom, why do you do that?"

We were discussing my relationships, the difficulties I've had in dating since getting divorced just over three years ago.

I answered, "Because I'm fucked up, son."

In my embarrassment and low feelings about myself, I got up and walked out of the room.

My son followed me to the kitchen.

"Mom, we're going to get one thing clear right now. You are not fucked up. Believe me, I've lived with fucked up people and you are not it. You are--Uh-MAY-zing. And not only are you amazing, but you are the single most authentic person I have ever met in my entire life.

Seriously, I want you to think about this. I'm going to talk about myself here for a minute, but the point of this story is you:

Ten years ago, I was living in a situation where every adult I was surrounded by was fucked up. It was disempowering. I had no idea of the power available to me. I had no idea that I could be the master of my own destiny. I was simply doomed to this really shitty life, to repeat the mistakes of those who came before me and to never have anything good for myself.

And then came you.

My mother, she was encumbered under the weight of her own life and she couldn't take it anymore. To the point where she literally said, 'I've got to go,' and off she went.

And who was there for me?


You came and you picked me up and you showed me this world.

You imparted on me all your values, all your wisdom, everything you've learned about life.

You became my anchor.

You are the anchor to my ship in what have been some really rough and stormy seas. But through it all, you have kept me anchored.

And look at me now, look at who I am:

My personal growth is exponential, I have a job where I'm respected, I have 800 subscribers on YouTube. One day, I will be famous and have everything I could ever dream to be possible for myself. That's all because of you.

And I know, that if something were to happen--some wrench in my works and I were to end up homeless--well, I have the power to turn myself around in an instant.

So look at me, see how amazing I am. And know that if I'm amazing, well the person who raised me to be this way--YOU--has to be amazing, too."

As he said these words, I had so much trouble letting them in. I heard him, but I could scarcely believe him. But he made a really good point at the end there:

He's an AMAZING person.

And I feel lucky and proud to have him call me Mom. <3

Happy 18th Birthday, son. Your life is now completely in your hands. You make my heart sing and move me to tears regularly with how amazing you are, I know you're going to make the best of it and change the world.

P.S. If you've never heard his music, I encourage you to check him out:

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