17 Full of Possibilities

by Migdalia Rivera

karl-rivera-17_Latina-on-a-mission17 is full of possibilities.

My son, you are more than I could ever have imagined. As a single mother, I feared you. Raising a child was not what I expected to be doing at 22. You interrupted my life. It seemed so full on the outside. But it was all a facade.

Having you made me realize what true love really was. The fairy tales had it wrong. Prince Charming and I would not live happily ever after. That was not true love. True love was pulling all nighters with an asthmatic child. It was watching you struggle and holding my breath till you drew yours. True love was not a fairy tale. It was my baby child.

As you grew, so did I.

We attended college together. I at 25, with my little boy by my side.

It amazes me still to see you now. You are my “Manchild in the Promised Land”. And, poverty did not hold you down.

17 is invincible.

As a child, you told me, you were scared to walk ahead. You wanted me to stay by your side. You said, “Don’t leave me Mommy. I don’t want to be alone.” I recall holding you tight and whispering, “I’m right beside you.”

Now the years have passed, and you, my son, have grown. At 17, you graduated from high school, started a new journey, and moved several miles from home.

17 marked the year of invincibility. You were no longer scared to walk alone.

17 is fearless.

“Fear was the number one immobilizer of potential; fear of failure, fear of being too much or too little… just fear across the board. I saw it freeze people, I felt it freeze me.” – Karl Rivera

At 17, you learned that lacking fear does not make one courageous, the ability to face it does. And so you faced it head on. Accepting new adventures, you started a house in college called LIFE, an acronym for Leadership & Innovation Fuel Empowerment.

Leading by example, you have shown me and others that 17 is more than just 17 birthdays.

17 is a milestone.

Let’s talk! What do you recall most about being 17? Share it in a comment below! Added benefit, EVERY comment provides a vaccine for a child so that they can reach a milestone of their own.

This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.

During Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines). A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. We can change this reality and help save kids’ lives!

Sign up HERE for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

{ 236 comments… read them below or add one }

201 Lee August 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Trying to synthesize the importance of 17 to me, but decided it’s impossible. I’m just incredibly grateful! Thanks for supporting Shot@Life.

202 Melissa August 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I remember thinking I knew how the world worked, and realizing now I still only slightly understand.

203 Elba August 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

As your son ages, he will treasure this post. I can feel the love pouring out of it!

204 Carole R August 21, 2013 at 10:06 am

17 – I thought I could do anything!

205 Migdalia Rivera August 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

Carole R I think we all did!

206 Wendy August 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

Thanks, nice post.

207 Rose August 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

At 17, I too set out to make it on my own. At 17 I didn’t realize exactly how nieve but strong I was. I struggled a lot. I cried a lot. I worked a lot and studied when I could. I made it!

208 nancy vecchione August 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I remember a lot of things about 17, but the most devastating was the loss of my father. His death was unexpected and left our whole family fl0undering. I give my mom a lot of credit, she picked things up and got us all moving onward and upward. It’s not that we weren’t still sad but we learned we could do it, could survive even after losing my dad. She managed to send four kids to college and never complained–kudos to my mom.
nancy vecchione recently posted..Eating Out Gluten Free

209 Migdalia Rivera August 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm

nancy vecchione I am so sorry you experienced your father’s loss at such a young age. Your mom sounds like an inspiration!Thank you for sharing your memories at 17 with us!

210 Natalie C-W August 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

This blog brought a tear to my eye and the concept is so cool. Good on you Latina on a mission! At 17 I was very into the GAIA club and Amnesty International. Infact at 16 I asked for 1 year sponsorship of a child rather than getting a ‘present’. Those days feel like yesterday and yet I’m turning 40 next month!

211 Migdalia Rivera August 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Natalie C-W – What an inspiration you were at 16 and still are – Thank you so much for commenting and providing a child with a vaccine!

212 Migdalia Rivera August 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Natalie C-W I love it! You were an inspiration thn and I am sure still are!

213 GR August 22, 2013 at 6:11 am

Wow, he’s achieved so much! Sounds like you both have.

214 Migdalia Rivera August 22, 2013 at 6:12 am

GR - We def. grew up together :)

215 Carla August 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm

What an incredible age! My son just turned 18 so I know this all too well.
Carla recently posted..Real Into Reads No. 24

216 Migdalia Rivera August 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Carla Isn’t it an amazing age? I love looking at the world through their fearlessness! Btw, love your name. My Teen’s name is Karl :)

217 Gemma Jeva August 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Thanks for sharing your emotions!

218 Migdalia Rivera August 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Gemma Jeva Thanks for reading :)

219 Dolly Navina Lakra August 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Love It ! :)

220 Migdalia Rivera August 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Dolly Navina Lakra – Thank you!

221 Lynda @MommyPowers August 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thanks for sharing your story! Every child matters!

222 Lynda @MommyPowers August 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

Thanks for sharing your story! Every child matters! :D

223 Migdalia Rivera August 28, 2013 at 10:20 am

Lynda @MommyPowers I agree! Thanks much for commenting!

224 Steph August 31, 2013 at 2:33 am

Great post. Thanks for supporting Shot@Life

225 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 6:24 am

Steph And thank YOU for commenting!

226 Netta Conerly August 31, 2013 at 9:36 am

First Shot!@Life story about a guy. Great job Mom and best of luck to your son in college and with LIFE.

227 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thank you Netta Conerly for commenting and for your well wishes!

228 Colleen August 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

At 17, I was gaining a ton of knowledge, but I think it was right about then that I fully realized just how little I knew. Obviously, it’s a big world with a lot of amazing things. One day, we’ll be able to add “End of polio” to that list of amazing things :]

229 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Colleen I totally understand! Now that I’m much older, I know just how little I knew at that age.

230 Al Denelsbeck August 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm

17 was mt first job, learning more about what I needed to know than anything I’d received in high school (some schools aren’t very good.) And paying for my own Atari 2600 of course… ;-)

Thanks for supporting Shot@Life!

231 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Al Denelsbeck Seems like you had many firsts at 17! Love it!

232 sean ishum August 31, 2013 at 9:48 pm

17 is such a great age

233 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

sean ishum I agree!

234 Darryle August 31, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Really enjoyed learning about your life; very inspiring. All the best to you!

235 Migdalia Rivera August 31, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Darryle Thank you!

236 Alina September 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Here’s to the vaccines!

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