17 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!
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