Dearest Shaggy -
I cannot believe how quickly the last 17 years have gone. It seems like only yesterday you were still my baby, holding tight to my hand as we walked. Sometimes, I forget that you don't look like this anymore -
and that instead, you are almost a grown man with your whole life ahead of you.
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of you. You have overcome much adversity in your life to be a fantastic young man and a wonderful son.
You and I have certainly weathered some "interesting" times.
There was the time you cut the main phone line in an attempt to splice a phone into it since there wasn't a phone jack.
There was the time you got a metal detector and my backyard resembled a mine field with all the holes.
There was the time you got a cordless drill and decided to find what exactly your drill bit would penetrate.
There are the times you brought home lawnmowers and weed eaters because you were sure you could fix them.
There was also a chain saw one time.
There was the time I came home to find a pile of junk in the garage that you had scavenged out of the creek and were determined they were antiques and worth a fortune.
There have been times I've dried your tears because you didn't understand what you did to drive your father away.
There have also been times you've healed my heart just when I didn't think I could go on.
There have been the countless dance recitals that you've been at without complaint because you knew it was important to your sister.
There are the times when I see you hug Abby and realize your heart is soft.
There is the physically disabilities you've overcome with your partial blindness, determined not to let it stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
There are the times that I know I can trust you to be out safe because, in truth, you've never given me a moments doubt.
There are the times you've hustled for odd jobs to get money for whatever it was you wanted because you didn't want to stress me by asking. Somehow, someway, you knew how dire the situation was without any support from your father without me ever saying a word.
From your first faltering steps as a baby to your more secure and confident ones as you turn into a man, I've been there. While my heart breaks that I didn't take the time to enjoy the wonderful amazing gift I was given, it also swells with pride at the adult you are becoming.
You taught me what it means to be a mother, and to some degree, also a father. You taught me what unconditional love it. You taught me unselfishness. You taught me the true meaning of beauty the first time I gazed into your face. You taught me hope. You taught me bravery. You have definitely given more to me than I could ever hope to give to you.
You will always be my firstborn baby - no matter how old or big you get. I love you more today then I did seventeen years ago. I'm proud and honored to be your mother. God was certainly good to me the day he chose me to be your mother.
I love you then, now and always!