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A Gift For My Son On His 16th Birthday

A Gift For My Son On His 16th Birthday

What the hell happened? I just looked at the calendar and my son’s birthday is this week. Not just any birthday, his sweet 16. I swear it was just yesterday that he was inseparable from Barney, blanket and bottle. How did this all of a sudden sneak up on me? I have tried to be a good mom and pay attention – even tried to note a few milestones for the record using that new service Lifeables.

And that’s when it hit me. The milestones were all wrong.

They were generic, biological/psychological -- the “first tooth” or the “grew 2 inches.” It’s fine for the doctor’s office and the official baby book, but we need something for every day. Something that is real. So I have developed this list of milestones that, in retrospect, were the real signals that my little boy was turning into a man. They still start with the word “first” but as you’ll see what follows is not found on your standard growth chart or baby book template.

1) The first time he fell, there was blood but he didn’t cry because he had to be tough around his friends.
2) The first time he asked to do his own clothes shopping.
3) The first time I almost gagged doing his laundry after sports because he was starting to smell like a man.
4) The first time I bought him sneakers and his size was double-digits.
5) The first time I went to take out the AC's and he took them from me with ease, and said “I’ve got it.”
6) The first time I heard him call his friend a “dude” (or insert any term that the Jersey Shore cast uses on TV).
7) The first time I caught him checking out a girl and he wasn’t making a “gross” face.
8) The first time I saw 5 o’clock shadow on his handsome face.
9) The first time I called his cell phone, got his voicemail and realized his voice is now 10 octives lower.
10) The first time he opened a door for me.

So for those of you with sons, take a minute to really appreciate where they are now – and then think about what your own “real” milestones have been. I can almost guarantee you that the things you really remember won’t be found on those doctor’s charts.

I give this as a gift to my son so that he can share it with his wife after they have their first son (of course that won’t be for many, many, many years….)

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