To my son, you’ll never know I cried today as you walked away.

Today is your 16th birthday.

From the day you were born and even before that, I have loved you and cared for you and been the one to hold you and soothe you when you were little.

And today I just dropped you off at basketball practice for probably the very last time. Tomorrow, you will get your license and gain your freedom to go out into this wonderful world without me, and hopefully make it better as I pray I have raised you to do.

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But you’ll probably never know I cried as you walked away today.

My heart was happy to see the young man you have grown to be. But a part of my heart broke as you walked away because I know I won’t have that time with you anymore. Those few seconds on the road together will be few and far between. I loved our chats as we would drive to and from practice. I loved the way you giggled at me when I sang along with the radio. I smiled inside when you rolled your eyes at me because your music was inappropriate and not meant for your mama’s ears. I loved when we turned the music up and jammed to what I called the “good” songs and you referred to as “oldies.” And that smile, that smile you flashed me when you made a mistake practicing driving, is something I will hold in my heart forever.

But most of all, I am going to miss all of those little, tiny moments where you opened up and talk to me in the car. It was just you and me. No siblings, no life, no homework, no phones going off, no world around us, it was just us. Just us discussing your day, your friends, the good and bad of the world, or simply just a quick, “It was a good day, Mom.” I will forever cherish those moments. They are some of my favorites.

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So, today I cried as you walked away from my car knowing tomorrow you would get that small bit of freedom you so desperately have been waiting for, and I have unsuccessfully tried to hold onto.

Dear God, please keep him safe and watch over him.

Watch over his siblings and friends who will be riding with him and always bring him home to me.

Son, always know I will be waiting for you to return and praying while you are gone. You are my whole world, and I can’t wait for you to see what this wonderful world has waiting for you. I will always cherish and miss that little boy, strapped into his car seat, eating Teddy Grahams, and singing the songs I once approved of. 

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So yes, I cried today as you walked away from my car, but I know you are walking into so many wonderful things that I can’t wait for you to experience. Happy birthday my dear child.

(And don’t forget to ask your mom to go for a drive every once in a while. You will make her day!)

Previously published on the author’s blog

Gina Marie Bonifas

I am a wife and mother of four boys. Our world is usually loud and filled with dirt and a bit chaotic, but in every moment we try to find the joy, the beauty, and the memories. This is our story!