To the Dude. Happy Sixteenth Birthday. Now take out the trash.

rf1m5wasOn Friday, the Dude turned sixteen. We didn’t give him a car. We didn’t give him a string of pearls, either. Consider us rebels.

He said he really didn’t want much, which is a departure from his younger days when he started a list the day after Christmas and edited daily. He’s content, which makes me glad.

I watched a number of videos of the dude as a toddler. He’s changed so much, and yet I see so much of the man he is becoming in the child he once was. So, since he asked for so little this year, I’ll ask for a few things in his name.

1. Please let him be safe. So many events feel random, and being a bystander becomes a more dangerous occupation each year. If this is all he gets, it would be enough. At least for me.

2. Give him time. Adulthood is long. Let him appreciate being young while he’s young. The rest will come soon enough, and sometimes it sucks. So does being a teenager, but he doesn’t have to pay taxes.

3. Keep his sense of humor intact. Otherwise, I’ll have to make stuff up about him. He won’t like that. It will also help him keep perspective when things get rough. It certainly makes life more entertaining.

4. Keep his heart open. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He also uses a sleeve as his napkin. His heart will suffer for being so unprotected, but please let it keep growing.

5. Let him learn from mistakes, but never be afraid of making them. This is one he could use now. Both parts.

6. Let him see that it is never too late. Even when it seems like it. It may be harder, and take longer, but there are many paths up the mountain, and they all end at the same place.  He also may not end up where he expected, but that doesn’t mean it’s not where he’s meant to be. Let him enjoy the view while he’s there.

7. Let him remember how much he is loved. If there are limits to how much a parent can love a child, I haven’t found it yet. Even when he’s being an idiot. And that says a lot.

Being his mother has been the best job, ever. He made it easy. So Happy Birthday dude. You can drive the Prius, and you’re welcome.

Words by J. B. Everett

4 comments on “To the Dude. Happy Sixteenth Birthday. Now take out the trash.

  1. Christine says:

    Happy Birthday to Mr. Big Jet! We love him, too.

  2. OK, so you know how to push my buttons, Jeannine. Why is it that you always find just the right blend of heart and humor to pull it off??? I’ll admit, this brought tears to my eyes. Not just because I recall my own son turning 16; but because said son is about to get married (yes, you read that right – no, he’s no longer 16 but that’s not quite the point now, is it?!!!). And everything you said in this post is what I want to say to him. Except you already did. Beautifully. Just beautifully . . .

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