Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Not So Baby Boy

My son turned 18 yesterday. I can't believe it! It seems like he was just born yesterday, all ten pounds, eleven ounces of him. It's been a pleasure to watch him grow into the young man he has become. He's a remarkable person. His calm and gentle nature is the thing I love most about him. He has the ability to be the quiet in the midst of a storm. When others panic, he analyzes the situation, states the obvious, and moves on. That is not something he inherited from his parents or his older sister. We all have fiery tempers.

This is my son's first year of college. He was accepted to about six colleges away from home, but decided he wanted to stay and go to a local university. His father, sister, and I were a little upset about it but left the decision up to him. It turned out to be a good decision because he ended up receiving a full, four year scholarship.

I often joked that one day he would turn into a basketball and roll away. Basketball has always been his favorite sport to watch and play. He played little league baseball for a few years, but that was not his passion, it's definitely basketball.

As soon as he decided to stay home, my son began to contact the coaches of the school he chose in hopes of being able to try out for the team. His efforts paid off. After a whole lot of hard work and dedication he tried out for, and became a member of the team. It's not easy to walk on to a team, but he did it. We were all so happy for him because we knew how hard he worked and how much he wanted it. When my young man is determined, he goes for broke. I've never seen him so dedicated.

My son, Ratique, is now a member of the Lehman College Lightning!

I almost cried the first time I saw my son on the court in his uniform with his goggles on his head. He looked like such a man. He's looked so handsome and fit. I think I may have been in shock. At that moment I realized he was no longer a baby. He'll always be my baby, but he's a man now. I took a moment to look back and remember a few moments from the 17 years he had lived at that time. There weren't many bumps in his road to manhood. He was a fun, busy kid and we all loved him and each other very much.

We all knew he wouldn't get much playing time because he is a freshman. We attend his games and cheer for the team, knowing that one day he'll get his chance to show his skills. Obviously the coach knows he can play or he would not have put him on the team.

Last night, on his 18th birthday, as his father, sister (who was holding up a Happy Birthday #25 sign - complete with lightning bolts), his father's friend (Aggy - who loves the way my son plays and attends every game with us) and I cheered and hoped we would get to see him play, my son got up to go to the scorer's table. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. When he went into the game, we jumped up and cheered for our boy.......I mean man. It was one of the best moments of my life.

We were so excited. People in the stands were shouting his name and his teammates were happy to see him play on his birthday. They would stand up and cheer or make noise every time he touched the ball. He did his thing, he's a workhorse on the court. His defense and ability to see the entire floor amaze me. He's always there for his teammates, on or off the court. He scored a few buckets too. It was a fun thing to watch, but at the same time i'm always a nervous wreck when he plays.

My heart filled with so much pride and joy. I was happy that he was able to do what he loved on the day of his birth, the day he officially became a legal man, even though I feel like he's had the attributes of a man for many years.

When the game ended his teammates jumped on him and sang happy birthday. He had one of the biggest smiles i've ever seen on his face. It was wonderful. I'm so proud of him. He doesn't always show his emotions, but last night he was happier than I have seen him in a very long time.


Keith said...

Hey Tammy...I'm Happy for you..Nothing makes a parent prouder thaan watching their little
birds stretch their wings and fly away from the nest. I know he's made you very proud.

Strongblkwmn said...

Thanks Keith. He's been making me proud for years. I consider myself very lucky because even though you try your best to give your children the tools to live a good life they still have to implement those tools when they go out into the world.

Yvette said...

I feel like crying I wish I was there. I love you guys. Tell him I'm so proud of him.

The Fitness Diva said...

Congrats on raising a fine, strong, intelligent young man, and Happy 18th Birthday to Rattique!

You have every reason to be proud! ;)

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Happy Belated and it sounds like you and your husband did a great job. I remember when my son turned 18, it was the first year that we didn't spend his birthday together. I felt like we broke up (lol) This is the part when you send him off into society and watch your hard work pay off. No matter how big, how successful, they will still need their mommma's.

PS any cake left?

Strongblkwmn said...

Diva - Thank you.

Butterfly - I feel comfortable sending my son off into society. I'm sure he will be fine.

We had a surprise bowling party for him last night and he was really happy. (There actually is some cake left. LOL)