Tuesday, April 26, 2011

19 Years Proud

19 years ago I gave birth to my son.  He was three weeks early, cute as a button, and happy as a clam...little has changed all these years later.

When he brought home beautiful artwork or got good grades I was proud.  But when he told me he liked the way the house looked or that my hair looked nice I was even more proud.

When he was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in middle school I was proud.  But when he refused to join NHS in high school, (even with the school giving us almost daily phone calls urging him to join),  because he felt like some of the kids cheated or falsified their applications to get in, I was even more proud.

When he held the door for his girlfriend I was proud.  But when he took the hand of my dying mother to give her comfort I was more proud. 

When he received an academic scholarship to an excellent university I was proud.  But when he came home after one of his roommates was attempting to bring drugs into the room I was even more proud.

When he made the sailing team and did well at regattas I was proud.  But when he took his summer vacation to not only work but to also become an EMT so that he could run on our local rescue squad I was even more proud.

You see, he has seen more in 19 years than many people will in a lifetime, some good, and some bad.  He has been to London and Paris and lots of places in between, suffered through the illnesses and subsequent loss of one set of grandparents who he saw nearly every day, and helped people who are ill or injured and in their hour of need.

In the next few months he has a big decision to make, to stay where he grew up and continue attending one of the best small colleges in the country, or to go to the city and go to school in a different environment.  He's torn, and I understand exactly where he's coming from, because 30 years ago I was in his shoes.  I did go away to school, to the same place he is considering, and after my 4 years I came right back home.  Like him, I worried that if I came home or never left I might be missing out on something or not go as far as I wanted with my career, but the truth is that if you aren't happy some place then all the rest of it doesn't really matter.

Coming back home was the best thing that ever happened to me, it allowed me to meet Mr. Tide, spend time with my parents who left this world too soon, and for my kids to have had an upbringing that allowed them to learn to drive a tractor before they ever drove a car...all while surrounded by close friends and family.  I understand that the choices I made are not for everyone, heck two of my siblings left for college and never came back, and they have certainly been happy and successful just like me.  And our daughter Angelfish loves us dearly, but has that need to travel the world and live in far flung lands.  So there is no right way, and the only limitations in life are the ones we place upon ourselves or let others place upon us.

My son Bugs is a lot like me, he's a small town boy, who loves where he comes from, loves knowing lots of people in town and not being able to get through the grocery store, or drive down the road, without seeing at least a handful of people he knows.  He likes being able to know that he can leave home and live in an apartment while going to school but still be able to run on the rescue squad as a crew chief every other weekend, or come home for a bowl of mom's chili, his favorite.  He's a little bit country, a little bit redneck, and a lot smart!

But there are people who think that in order to be successful in life you have to go away, you have to live someplace new, even if you don't like living in a city, that you need to get the whole college "experience."  They worry that maybe he's afraid to leave the area, or that he'll get stuck here and not reach his full potential...but they are wrong.  That's the beauty of life, we get to live our own lives, make our own choices, and shape our own futures.  I think sometimes people forget that, so when they give advice, it's not always what is best for the person seeking the advice, but is what they would do if they had the same choice to make.  You see it's HIS experience and his life, so only he can make that decision.  And based on every other decision he has made up until now...I (we) trust him completely!

No matter what he decides, he will have the love and support of his family, and in the end, the path he chooses is not nearly as important as the experience he will gain along the way.  Wherever he goes you'll likely see him driving a bright red mustang or a big 'ole truck, sporting a cowboy hat, with this song blaring on the radio and him singing along at the top of his lungs! 

Happy Birthday Bugs...we love you and couldn't be more proud of you!!!


  1. Awww...wonderful post, Kat! I can see why you are so proud of him...he seems to have a very good head on his shoulders! The grass isn't always greener! Happy birthday, Bugs!

  2. Congratulations to you and your boy. My son turns 21 this week. I sent stuff from Oriental Trading company to his dorm room:).

  3. Kat- What a wonderful son you have. Mine is 5 and the things you talk of seem so far off, but I know they are not.

    He will continue to do you proud!


  4. I hope you are also proud of yourself for raising such a wonderful young man. This post made me teary & I don't even have kids. Happy Birthday Bugs!

  5. No wonder you are proud of him. Rightfully so.


  6. Absolutely, he doesn't have to fit to anyone else's pattern. No wonder you love him so, and are proud of him!

  7. You have every reason to be proud Kat! Whatever decision he makes - will be the right one. A very happy birthday to your boy Bugs! ;)Sharyne

  8. Kat, what a wonderful tribute to your son!! This post was just wonderful and you have alot to be proud of with your son and yourself. You and your husband have raised a fine young man! It always amazing me how much our children accomplish and surprise us with their "grown up" decision, which reflect on the way we have raised them and what wonderful people they are. Happy Birthday to Bugs!!

  9. there you go making me all misty....
    a wonderful tribute to your son<3

  10. HaPpY BiRtHdAy Bugs!!!! beautiful post and i am sure what ever Bugs decides to do he will put his whole heart into it and make you proud 1 more time...

  11. Happy Birthday Bugs. Do what feels right in YOUR heart Bugs. You're the one living your life. Have a wonderful day.

  12. Kat, what a sweet post. Happy birthday, Bugs!

  13. Such a sweet post! What a wonderful way to commemorate his birthday. Happy Birthday, Bugs!

  14. Congratulations and a happy birthday!!

  15. What a wonderful post ~ Happy Birthday Bugs ~ He'll make the right decision, he sounds like a grounded person. ;-)

  16. What a sweet post, Kat. My son is turning 19 in May and I can so relate to the joy and pride young men who were raised right can bring.
    Happy birthday to your Bugs and congratulations to YOU for raising a man who brings integrity and conviction to our world.

  17. Happy Birthday to Bugs!! What a wonderful post Kat! I know how proud you are of him and he is such a wonderful young man with so much ahead of him no matter where he chooses to plant his roots. :)

  18. I hope you will print this and save for him to read many years from now. You found the perfect words to share your heart and I think it is truly a beautiful post.

  19. Kat, What a wonderful post. Your son sounds like a fine young man. Pat yourself on the back for doing an outstanding job of helping to make him who he is. He'll make a wise choice, I'm sure, and his experiences will make him an even stronger, wiser person. I know you will miss him (a lot) if he goes away to school, but that is just part of the process. Have a wonderful celebration today. Mickie :)

  20. Once again I am struck by how beautifully you express yourself and your ability to make me well up with tears just reading your heartfelt words. Oh my goodness, you have so much to be proud of. Love all your images on here and a perfect video to illustrate the powerful impact a small town can have on our lives. Happy 19th to your very well grounded and very cool son, Bugs! xo ~Lili

  21. Happy Birthday to Bugs! Congratulations to you for raising such a fine son who will continue to make you proud as he grows into a fine man. Thank you for bringing up a good citizen and kind soul.

    Susan and Bentley

  22. Ok I hope I can see the keys between my tears...Your son has a unique and strong spirit. Isn't that what we want for our children? Not the cookie cutter by the books sort. I love his spirit, drive and he will strive for great things, Just let him go and keep encouraging him to do what he thinks is right he will be awesome, he already sounds like he has that covered.
    Happy 19th* to all of you!!!! It takes a village...

  23. Sending birthday wishes to your amazing son, Kat! No wonder you're so very proud of him! He will grow where ever he is planted - because it sounds like he has such a good heart! :)

    xoxo laurie

  24. Beautifully written, Kat. Don't have to look very far to spot just where this young man gained his wisdom and maturity. Happy Birthday to him and thank you to you for reminding us all , in nearly every one of your posts, just how wonderful and special life truly is.

  25. Happy Birthday, Bugs!
    Kat, you certainly have much to be proud of with this boy of yours!
    BTW, my Chickie turns 19 on Friday! Isn't spring a wonderful time to have a baby?

  26. Sounds like you have quite a man there. Wishing him a Happy Birthday too.

  27. Aww, Bugs sounds like a wonderful son! Happy Birthday!

  28. Happy Birthday to your beloved son!
    How lucky he is to call you mother.

  29. I'm proud of him
    to, just knowing a
    bit about him through
    you....But they are
    all wonderful bits!!
    And I think your wisdom
    about him is just
    wonderful, as well.
    The biggest lesson that
    I've learned in life
    is that we have to
    listen to that little
    voice inside of us. The
    times my brain has tried
    to trump that voice were
    the times that I got
    in trouble or was unhappy.
    If he listens to his own
    little voice, he will be
    doing the right thing.
    Happy b-day to you and
    Mr. Tide, too, Kat....
    You done GOOD, girl!
    xx Suzanne

  30. Kat,

    This touched my heart and I'm still wiping away the tears! I am fortunate to know first hand that Bugs is a great young man. All that is good in him started with the seeds that you and Mr. Tide planted and cultivated through his young life. Cheers to you both and belated birthday wishes to one of the nicest young men I've had the pleasure of meeting in the past few years! He is an old soul with so many great things ahead of him in life...much like your beautiful Angelfish!



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