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 }

51 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

Thank you Eliane for your comment and for providing a vaccine to a child in need!

52 Emily August 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

Beautiful post!

53 Lynn J August 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

We really need people like you & your son who provide positive changes in our world! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story about your wonderful son and his equally wonderful Mom! GREAT! ♥

54 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thank you so much for your kind words Lynn J and for providing a vaccine with your comment! {{Hugs}}

55 Pam Petty August 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

Nice post. Thank you!

56 Dresden August 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

What a beautiful love letter to your son! My heart just hurts thinking about the day when my son will be old enough to move out, and yet I know that is what I am preparing him to do, to be a self sufficient and loving man. As a single mom to a boy your post really touched me. thank you. xo
Dresden recently posted..Red Elephant in the Room

57 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

Thank you Dresden. I must admit I cried like a baby when he left but as a parent it’s our duty to prepare them to become independent. This doesn’t mean they won’t return, it just means we won’t have to be as hands on. The perk: we become friends and get to enjoy them even more!

58 Susan K August 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

Love for every child. Hope for every child. shot@life for every child.

59 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

Susan K I couldn’t have said it any better!

60 Maria August 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

What a beautiful tribute to your son! I remember thinking I knew it all at 17 and feeling like I was going to take over the world. If only we could hold on to that energy and that feeling of being invincible for the rest of our lives. I’m happy to be a part of such a great cause. xo
Maria recently posted..Let The Soul Doctor Soothe Your Soul! @SoulDoctor #Review

61 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

Maria If we could bottle up that feeling of invincibility, imagine what we could do? Thn again, knowing you personally, and seeing all that you are doing with your life, leads me to believe you may have already tapped into that! Abrazos and thank you for providing a vaccine with your comment!

62 Mfon August 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

I feel all ppl have this mindset of ‘my life is gone because I’m having a child.’
But like you said having and raising a child is not just a one sided growing process. The parent and the child grow as a whole.

63 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

Mfon Yes, yes, yes!

64 Roseanne Salyer August 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

I did know it all at 17, dammit! Well, until I realized that I had no clue. Sigh! It was so long ago, 1967. Wow! it sounds even longer ago when you say it out loud.
It has been my very great privilege to be the mother of two amazing daughters. Although, they are in their early 30′s now, their teen years were just as chaotic and angst ridden as anyone else’s. Some days I was sure there would be no survivors, but here we are all these years later.
17 is the pits, it’s the best. Thankfully, we do get over it.

Thanks to Walgreen’s for what they are doing. Thank you, Shot@Life for helping me to help.

65 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

It’s definitely a beautiful age Roseanne Salyer!

66 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Chloe Jeffreys The power of a parent, a mother, is so awe inspiring isn’t it? I am so glad you were able to go out and have your own world of possibilities!

67 Eileen Carter-Campos August 17, 2013 at 11:39 am


What a sweet and touching post!
You are such a phenomenal example for your son.
Thank you for sharing this intimate feeling with us all.
Big hugs and keep up the great work! You are a STRONG woman!
Eileen Carter-Campos recently posted..Review & Giveaway of VTech’s Newest Switch & Go Dinos®

68 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:40 am

Eileen From one strong woman to another, thank you for your words and your comment. They will provide a child in need with a vaccine, so that one day too they will hear the words, “You are a STRONG (Wo)Man.”

69 amber August 17, 2013 at 11:53 am

Thank you for the beautiful post.

70 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:54 am

amber Children are so amazing, that’s why I am happy to join with #Blogust to provide children in need with vaccines!

71 Mary August 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thrilling. My grandchildren are not there yet but will be soon. Your blog gives me hope for them

72 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 11:56 am

I’m sure you will be fine Mary! Thanks for commenting and providing a vaccine :)

73 Amy from Resourceful Mommy August 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

I’m in the tween years right now with my oldest and can’t even imagine the years ahead – teenager!!! You’re standing on the brink of being the mother of an adult. What an amazing moment in time. Great post!!
Amy from Resourceful Mommy recently posted..Turketarian Twitter Party with Butterball

74 maria August 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm

seventeen !!! Wow!!! school ,friends , music & Love stuff !!! ;)))) Only good memories …..

75 Shannon Bailey August 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

thanks for sharing during Blogust and supporting Shot@Life!

76 Bobbiejo August 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I hope your son may both grow in leading others and in knowing when to accept help as well. 17 was a difficult time for me. I was still trying to figure out who I was and come out of the shell I had created earlier as a defense mechanism. Your son sounds like a excellent example for others thanks in part to you as well.

77 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Bobbiejo Thankfully, he has learned that community, via social media, Posse, his college scholarship program, church and family, that nothing ever gets accomplished alone. Like you, it took me years to figure this out, so I’m so glad he learned it early on. Honestly, we wouldn’t have made it this far without help from our support network :) That’s why I am so happy to join #Blogust and work together with others to help children in need. It really is about community, working together, towards a common goal.

78 Sili August 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I ADORE this. What a journey of growth you have had. Wishing Karl the best on his journey and hope you share more of it in the years ahead!

Sili recently posted..Shot@Life: Blogust

79 Phyllis August 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm

All your hard work raising your son has paid off in a small innovative young man. You can be proud of yourself as well as him.

80 em August 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm

That’s amazing! I admire your determination and spirit as a mother! I was 17 just a few months ago, and I certainly was fearless. As I approach college, I still am; I hope I can be as driven and outgoing as your son! Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks to Walgreens and shot@life for making this comment count!

81 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Congrats on turning 17 Em! You have so many possibilities before you. Enjoy them and walk fearlessly into your future. {{Hugs}}

82 Tanis Miller August 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I’m a month shy away from 17 with my kid and I am so looking forward to it. Beautiful post!
Tanis Miller recently posted..Sixteen and Saving The World

83 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm

It’s an amazing age Tanis Miller. As a parent, seeing it through their eyes, is so memorable and reminds us of the possibilities. Thanks for your comment!

84 Migdalia aka @MsLatina August 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Gracias Sili! Watching you and your daughter grow, via your blog, and having you share in mine makes me realize how social media has become an extension of my own family. And, family supports one another. That’s why I’m so excited to support #Blogust and provide children in need with vaccines.
Migdalia aka @MsLatina recently posted..17 Full of Possibilities

85 Gail M August 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Outstanding words, highly inspiring !!

86 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thanks Gail M for your comment and for providing a child in need with a vaccine!

87 Nili Majumder August 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

My heartfelt thanks Migdalia Rivera to share a beautiful encouraging story about your brave heart child . 17 is fearless,innovative,inspiring. Lots of good wishes for Karl.

88 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Nili Majumder I hope all children have the same opportunities! I am so thankful for #Blogust, Shot@Life and Walgreens for providing a vaccine per comment. All children deserve a full life of possibilities and vaccines help them attain it.

89 Seana August 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I love your encapsulation of seventeen as fearless. May the seventeen year olds in our lives be examples to us all. And may they be safe in their explorations!

90 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Hear, hear Seana!

91 Lucrecer August 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

This is so wonderful. Thanks for sharing your incredible story.

92 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Lucrecer Thank you for taking the time to read it and for providing a child in need with a vaccine!

93 Mom101 August 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I love the image of you bringing your baby to college. And look at him now! As proud as you are of him, I imagine he’s just as proud of you and what you’re doing here for kids in need.
Mom101 recently posted..Can You Be Happy Without Children?

94 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Mom101 Thank you for your sweet words! He is. He loves this #Blogust initiative and how it’s providing vaccines for children. :)

95 Gemma Jeva August 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I know what means “Having you made me realize what true love really was” and “As you grew, so did I”, me too a single mother, at 19.
So many years passed in a rush, so many things happened, but to take that hard choice was the best chance in my life!
Best of luck to you and your beautiful son!

96 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Gemma Jeva Yes, yes, yes! They are such amazing blessings. I can’t even imagine my life without my sons. :)
Thank you for taking the time to comment and for providing a child with a vaccine!

97 Jen V August 17, 2013 at 3:04 pm

wonderful post!

98 Patricia August 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thanks Walgreens!!

99 Chrysula August 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Love this. What a wonderful man you’ve raised. Brava Mami!!! Thank you for being a part of this incredible project.
Chrysula recently posted..Back-to-School-Mom’s Kids Get Their Revenge

100 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Chrysula He is my manchild, full of hope and possibilities :) And, thank YOU, Shot@Life and Walgreens for organizing such an amazing campaign!

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: