Thing 1

I Am The Mother Of A Teenager

Dear LilZ,

13 years ago, you were placed into my arms after 17+ hours of labor, making me a Mom for the very first time. I have been happy ever since.

This birthday comes to me with such mixed emotions. On one side – I am so proud of who you are becoming and each passing year shows me more of the man you’ll be. You are kind and compassionate. Creative and nurturing. Loyal and giving. You are becoming the person that I wish I could be. This makes me more happy than you’ll ever know.

But, with each passing year, you need me less and less. This is hard because I still need you. I’m having to bid farewell to a lot of time we’ve previously shared, as you move on to other interests. I’m having to play second fiddle to your growing band of friends. Each day that passes by is one less day that you’ll need me to care for you, as you learn to care for yourself. As your mother – this saddens me. I often wonder how I could possibly survive for long periods of time without seeing you, and as each year brings you closer to adulthood, I have to face that imposing reality. And it’s a struggle.

Yet – you still make time for me. You’ll still let me invade your room at night to watch television. You’ll still talk books with me. You still go see movies with me. You still hang out with me and tell me about your day. You share the things that make you laugh and the things that anger you. You confide in me your hurts and your joys. I’m sure one day that will change, but I savor every minute you still give that to me. You have been my best friend since the day you were born, and I’ll always cherish that. You inspire me to be a better mother, a better woman, and a better person.

You are simply amazing. Everyone who knows you lives a little more blessed of a life because of the relationship they have with you. I wish I could give you everything you’ve ever wanted. I wish I could protect you from any pain or hurt that heads down your road. I wish I could give you just a fraction of what you’ve given me.

Happy Birthday, hon. I love you with all of my heart.

Just a picture to remind you that there were points in the past when you were shorter than me.

43 thoughts on “I Am The Mother Of A Teenager”

  1. Tell him that I love him so much and that he’s becoming a wonderful kid. I love him and admire him more and more every dayl HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILZ


  2. Beautiful tribute. I know the feeling of not needing needed as my boys are now adults. It’s tough but it’s also a great feeling knowing you’ve done a great job of raising your child. The third picture…….is the spitting image of NikkiZ!

  3. Z – I am a 27-year-old just-married graduate student trying to figure out who I am, what I want, where I am going ... and how to survive in this big, scary island of Manhattan
    Z says:


  4. Happy Birthday, LilZ!

    Zoot, this is such a lovely entry, and those photos are great- I think one of my favorites is the second one down- he looks like he’s doing your hair 🙂

  5. Oh, this makes me all teary.

    Certainly things will change as LilZ gets older, but I don’t think you have to worry that he’ll become as remote as most teenagers. You two have a rock-solid foundation – and if he’s this wonderful at this age, I’m positive that he’s going to be this wonderful at 17.

    My mom had me at 18 – and while being that young a parent has its challenges, I think that it can create a kind of closeness that may not be there otherwise. Mom is my best friend, and I’ve always shared just about everything with her – even when I was 16 (much to her horror, at times!). I’ll be 40 in three weeks, and my mom is still the first person I tell when something important happens.

    Happy Birthday, LilZ!

  6. wordnerd – I'm a proper southern, conservative gal, raised in the south, graduated from LSU...married with a couple of really neat kids... The quote that best represents me and my value system? "Some people are like Slinkies. . . not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs."
    wordnerd says:

    Amazing tribute.

    Amazing kid.

    Amazing mom.

    Happy Birthday, LilZ.

  7. *this made me cry*

    Happy birthday LilZ.
    And happy birth day to you, Zoot. You should be so PROUD of the young man you’ve raised. So very proud.

  8. widgete – College student just trying to make it to the other side while majoring in education, practicing her cooking and make-up hobbies, marching in the band, and living the sorority life...
    Elyse says:

    Look how big he has gotten! My god. 🙂 Happy birthday LilZ!

  9. Happy Birthday, LilZ! You have always seemed like such a great kid and with such a glowing report from your mom it has to be true! Have a wonderful day!!

  10. What a beautiful letter! I totally cried. You should issue Kleenex warnings when you write to your kids!

    Happy Birthday, LilZ!

  11. Great post – and aren’t I lucky, I share my birthday with the famous LilZ! Of course I may be roughly twice his age, but…bygones. Hope you both are having a wonderful day celebrating!

  12. supertiffx365 – join your favorite supertiff as she celebrates thirty years of super by remembering a person from her past in thirty words, everyday, for a whole damn year.
    supertiff says:

    happy birthday, lilz! i hope you get your loft bed!

  13. The photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Birthday LilZ!

    (It just seemed weird typing LilZ. He’s not little anymore. I’ve been a lurker since the early days of your blog and watched your him grow through your photos.)

  14. Carmen – Vancouver, BC – Addicted to Diet Coke, Chick Lit, home design shows; mom to a 9 year old girl & 12year old boy. By day, I'm a research scientist.
    Carmen says:

    I cried at this. And it’s not just because I’m pregnant – other people are teary-eyed too I note. Happy Birthday LilZ.

    (Also a lurker…thanks for writing a great blog.)

  15. Shoot. I feel lucky just to know you in blogform, LilZ. I can’t imagine the joy you bring to people in real life.

    Happy 13th birthday. May braces, zits, and embarrassing clothing choices stay far far away from you.

  16. Leslie – Thinking about intersection of Mind, Media, Tech • AI, psychology, wine, food, books, music • AI/ML CMO • McKinsey alum • she/her
    leslie says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous post. 🙂

  17. You totally need to do a “how to raise a man” post. You have done such an awesome job with LilZ. I only pray that my boys turn out as great as he is!

    (ps… we have very similar stories… I’m 31, my daughter is about to turn 13 on Feb 3, was divorced from her dad at 22, remarried at 27 to my best friend, and now we have a 21 month old son & 4 month old twin boys. I think we’re proof that life only gets better as you get older.)

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