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 }

151 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Amelia I know we were young but we rose up to the occasion. Your daughters are amazing young women and it is in large part to you. I’m so glad we met, you inspire me! Abrazos and thank you for commenting. It provided a vaccine for a child in need. xo

152 Carol August 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Thanks for sharing.
Remembering….17, boys, school, working part time in a nursing home,for the money, love hate school, driving,looking for nursing schools to attend…..
Dependent on parents, oldest of 4 siblings, being selfish and self centered…..
Took a lot for granted @17.

153 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Carol I was pretty much the same way! I didn’t mature until I had my son. Life changed. I think it was for the better :)

154 Mary Koslap-Petraco August 17, 2013 at 9:57 pm

17 has so many possibilities. It is the time to start thinking more about the future. What kind of career to choose. Making sure ALL children in the world are vaccinated so can look forward to a healthy future

155 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Mary Koslap-Petraco Yes, yes, yes! That is why I love the #Blogust campaign. 1 comment = 1 vaccine. How amazing is that?

156 Joe August 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I loved being seventeen. It’s a magical time in your life.

157 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Joe It is – so carefree and full of possibilities!

158 Dariela August 17, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Que lindo! This is so moving, I still can’t picture my kids being that age, but it is going to happen! You have sone such a great job Migdalia!! Saluditos!
Dariela recently posted..#DiscoveryFamilia Twitter Party!

159 Migdalia Rivera August 17, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Gracias Dariela! I completely understand, I still can’t believe I have a man-child – seems surreal!

160 Steve Mallinson August 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I was skinny and immature but thought I knew most everything, at 17.

161 Paula Kiger August 17, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Oh, 17! I graduated from high school and spent a summer knocking on doors trying to save people’s souls! Seriously! I have a 17 year old too (daughter) and this age has definitely presented some new challenges, along with some fun breakthroughs.

Nice post!
Paula Kiger recently posted..Full Support (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

162 Chloe Jeffreys August 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I was also graduated from high school and living on my own at 17. I remember being scared sometimes, but I also remember my mother’s faith in me that I could take care of myself. That meant a lot.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..How Do I Make a Difference in the World?

163 Caryn/The Mid Life Guru August 18, 2013 at 12:07 am

Loved your post!!! At 17, I graduated from high school and started college. I thought I was so ready and so mature. Ha!!! Going away to school and leaving all that was familiar to me was really hard. It was a rough time but I grew so much!!!

164 Vivian August 18, 2013 at 1:05 am

Hi there; thanks so much for being part of this wonderful campaign. Thanks for sharing a part of your story and for caring enough to dedicate time and energy to contribute to helping make the lives of the most vulnerable (children) better. Kudos and much appreciated. Take care and I wish you and yours the best of health and happiness henceforth. Cheers VD :)

165 Vivian August 18, 2013 at 1:08 am

Thanks for being part of such a wonderful campaign; also, thank you for sharing part of your story and for helping make the lives of the most vulnerable (children) happier and healthier. I wish you and yours the best and send my warmest regards. Kudos and much appreciated. Cheers, Vivian :)

166 Sharon - August 18, 2013 at 2:36 am

Thank you for sharing the “happily-ever-after” of the gift of your wonderful son. Ah, 17; yes, a milestone and so much more than 17 birthdays. 17 to me was going off to college as the first woman in my family on both my Mom and Dad’s side… off to my dream of becoming a teacher. 17 was discovering my voice. 17 was a milestone that each child should have the opportunity to discover. Thank you for your presence and support of Shot@Life so that each child reaches the voice of 17.
Sharon – recently posted..Life with ALL Brothers – Take #2

167 ASHISH SHRIVASTAVA August 18, 2013 at 4:07 am

Ref- 17 full of possibility,beginning of adulthood should have social process/parenting/communities/older care&teaching,provide mix of energy
to overcome growing complex/upside down conditions.
Child rights should be addressed as prevention of child marriage,juvenile anti-
social practices. Full of possibility could be achieved by prohibit employment
of children/traditional belief/under nutrition condition responsible for
poor physical&mental development of adult-childhood.

168 Obinna August 18, 2013 at 4:09 am

17! Though I was still under the watchful eyes of my parents, I still got a little freedom. :)
Obinna recently posted..Welcome to TodayBusiness SocialMedia

169 Dee Van Horn August 18, 2013 at 6:02 am

What an amazing young man and mother! Just shows what love and caring can do.

170 Gery August 18, 2013 at 6:48 am

17 for me was moving to a new country, becoming more independent, starting a new phase in my life….scary and exciting at the same time.

171 jimmibo August 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

What an interesting story. Inspirational.


172 Jeannette August 18, 2013 at 10:16 am

Migdalia, you have done an outstanding job raising your kids and I know it hasn’t been easy. I recall being 17 and how it was a turning point in my life. 17 taught me about resilience, independence and the value of true friendship. Love that you’re a part of Blogust!

173 Jeannette August 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

And here goes another vaccine! Un abrazo, amiga!

174 Gemma Jeva August 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

Yes, 17 are full of possibilities! All the best to you and your manchild son!

175 Migdalia Rivera August 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Sharon – Just thinking of all children who will be able to grow and have their own world of possibilities fills me with so much joy!

176 Marilyn August 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Such a great story! Your son has worked out quite well so far, although his life has really just begun. You have good reason to be proud, of him and of the great job you’ve done in raising him.

177 Anna August 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm

17? Wow, that was so long ago. At 17, I only thought about one day at a time & had no future plans. I didn’t realize that my own life would change drastically by having my one & only child at 18. She has been my saving grace. She changed me for the better, became my reason for living, became my best friend & my inspiration! I must have done something right by her because she did not follow my footsteps by becoming a young Latina mother also. She has broken the mold. She recently received her graduate degree in clinical psychology & is a MFT intern. I am a proud mama!

178 Emily August 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

17 is awesome!

179 Jennifer August 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

17 was attending Harvard as a freshman, living away from home for the first time, being surrounded by school and kind strangers. It was working cleaning bathrooms to have spare money, spending my summer doing two part time jobs, and having medical vertigo for over three weeks straight. It was Awesome in all aspects of the word.

And 18 brought fear that almost kept me from one of the greatest experiences of my life: interning at Biosphere 2. Thankfully, my friends and Mom were smart enough to push me on, and I was able to face the fear with their support.

180 Josette August 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Beautiful story!

181 Kim August 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

Beautiful story of true love!

182 Nicole August 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

Age 17 was actually my favorite year of being a teen! I was a senior in high school and really enjoyed that time of new freedoms and possibilities for my future! I remember having a lot of fun at that age. Great post!

183 Thomas Ronan August 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

Great story. Each child is special and seeing them grow to almost by not quite adulthood is a rewarding experience. There are times of happiness and also times of trouble, but seeing them survive all of that is truly enlighting.

184 Migdalia Rivera August 19, 2013 at 10:18 am

Jeannette, that means so much coming from you. Gracias. And, I am honored to be a part of an amazing initiative with #Blogust, Shot@Life and Walgreens.

185 Jamie August 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

You must be so proud, thanks for sharing!

186 Missus Wookie August 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

Oh I have a 19 year old about to head off to University and I’m well aware that her life is just so ‘full of possibilities’. Thanks for sharing!
Missus Wookie recently posted..Missus Wookie’s Weekly Overview August 19th 2013

187 Migdalia Rivera August 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

Missus Wookie I love watching as they realize the world is their oyster!

188 Rebecca August 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

I’m inspired! Thanks for sharing Migdalia!

189 Migdalia Rivera August 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

Thank you Rebecca for commenting and donating a vaccine!

190 Ruth August 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

Sounds like both of you have done a lot of growing up together.

191 Migdalia Rivera August 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

Ruth We did :) I found myself when I had him.

192 Chaz Walter August 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm


193 Eva Smith August 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Beautiful and inspiring!
Eva Smith recently posted..Ford Trends – Go Further With Ford Conference 2013

194 ~j. August 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Thank you for being involved with Shot@Life! And thank you for sharing your journey with your son!
~j. recently posted..Pretty Darn Funny S2E1 – BONUS FOOTLOOSE VIDEO

195 Marixsa August 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

At 17, i think i was still dressing Barbies and designing my clothes that my mom will then sew for me. And getting in love platonically ( for many years after this). What a beatiful post, Migdalia. God bless you and your lovely boys!

196 TJ August 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

197 Felisa Hilbert August 19, 2013 at 9:15 pm

great post for a great cause. Thank you for helping Shot@Life and Walgreens to provide vaccines for children in developing countries.

198 Claire August 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

17 was finding independence in having my first real (non-babysitting) job, and being trusted to drive with friends in the car! But it was also when I realized that I needed to respect all of the effort my parents had put into myself and my siblings!

199 Erin August 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Migdalia, this is really special. What a lovely post. Thank you for sharing!

200 Migdalia Rivera August 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Thank you Erin! I am so honored to be working with #Blogust, Shot@Life and Walgreens on this campaign.

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