Perhaps you’ve experienced this sensation yourself. You’re going along through your life, everything is fine, and then some event happens that jolts you and makes you realize that life is now going to be different from this point forward. (Cue Talking Heads, “This is not my beautiful life!”)

A couple of events such as this have happened to me lately that have made me realize that my life is different than the current definition in my head and it’s time to redefine.

The first event was the fact that for the first time in 15 years,  I no longer have a child in elementary school. It’s weird. I never thought I had some sort of defining label in my mind that said “elementary school mom” but take that situation away, and suddenly I have to re-evaluate. My new label is Jr. High Mom and High School Mom. I could even be College Mom, but my two oldest haven’t made that happen yet. I am a mom of “older” kids. It’s pretty darn hard to think of yourself as a “young mom” when your children have all grown beyond those little kid stages.

Yesterday was another event. Yesterday was Buddy’s birthday.One minute, he was this.

Then I blinked and he was this:
Before I knew it, he was at school. As it turns out, Buddy was the only child I cried about when he started school. I put him on the school bus that first day, walked up the hill to my house, closed my door and bawled like a baby
I think I was worried that school and life would somehow change Buddy. You can tell by these photos, that he has a happy soul. It’s totally true (unless you make him angry…you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry)
Buddy remains true to himself. He’s a fiercely independent thinker and he likes what he likes. He is kind-hearted and funny and smart and when he decides he wants something  you can either get on board or get out of his way.
He’s now 6’1″ tall. He is a strapping young man.This picture was taken a few weeks ago at the Sandusky County Fair. Hubs and Kiddo were all sick after going on three spinning rides in a row. Buddy was still ready to go on more.
Buddy clearly fell of the Brown Family side of the family tree. Need proof? 
Here’s Papasan (left) and Buddy at about the same ages:
Buddy also reminds me of my only brother.

Bruddar and Buddy have the exact same expressions. I frequently have to stop myself from calling Buddy by my brother’s name. It’s a very strange phenomenon because they’ve only been around each other a handful of times. Personalities are much more tied to genetics than I realized, because the similarities between Papasan, Bruddar and Buddy in the way they talk and think and act is simply amazing.

On an interesting side note, several years ago I was talking to my Dad’s uncle. Uncle Don told me that there was always one male child on the Brown line that was called Buddy. I had never heard this before, but it was very interesting to me because I had been calling my son Buddy his whole life (it’s not just a cute internet name I’ve assigned him).
At any rate, I guess what I don’t like about this particular birthday is having to recognize that my little boy is growing up. At 15, kids tend to hit warp speed. I’ve watched this happen twice now. With two kids that have grown up and moved out, I see how limited my time at home with Buddy is. While I am always ready, willing and able to celebrate that next stage of life with my kids, it makes me see that I need to celebrate every day we have together.
It’s nearly impossible to appreciate when you’re children are doing this:
Those days of busy hands and little sleep make it hard to appreciate the beauty and the joy of nurturing a young child. These days of busier hands and even less sleep make me see what a blessing that time really was. Also, while it IS true that your kids need less of your help in some ways when they are teens, the reality is that they need more of your emotional help and time during these years.

I truly do love being a Mom. I always say that I’m the Luckiest Mom In The World because I got the best kids. It’s true. I really did. Mostly, they are the best kids for me. I’m glad I get to be a part of their lives.

Happy Birthday, Buddy. Mom loves you!