The youngest of my five children graduated high school last week. It was a bittersweet day for both of us yet an exciting one. It was the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next one. Of course his chapter is much different than mine, yet it’s a new beginning for both of us.
This fifth child of mine never ceases to amaze me. At just 17 years old (almost 18) he knows who he is, he’s comfortable in his own skin, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, yet the truth is, everyone loves him. He’s smart, he’s kind and compassionate, and he’s funny. His smile lights up the room and he can turn the saddest of my days into my best days.
And they love him because he’s his authentic self. I can’t begin to tell you how many teachers, faculty and parents of his friends tell me what a sweet kid he is: kind, respectful and funny. No mother could ask for anything more!
Yet I think back to when I was that age and wasn’t even close to being sure of myself. I didn’t know what I wanted in life other than the next step after high school: go to college. I cared about what I was wearing and what others thought of me. Comfortable in my own skin? I didn’t even know what my “own skin” was.
Yes, I’m a proud mother here and one that is in awe of this fifth child of mine, yet I’ll be honest, all five of them are the same way. They are who they are and they’re amazing human beings. I’d like to think I had a hand in that while I was raising them because I allowed them to be their authentic self, without judgment or criticism. And it worked.
We all want to be accepted and loved and I believe that happens when we are our “authentic self,” not someone other people expect us to be. As I told my children, if people don’t like you or respect you for who you are, then they’re not your “people.”
And it’s true.
It’s a lesson I learn more and more as life goes on.
Congratulations to my fifth child, Sam, as he begins the next chapter of his life. I hope it’s a grand adventure. He certainly deserves it!
And here’s to all of us being our authentic self and beginning another chapter in our lives. Enjoy the journey and embrace the adventure.
It’s a good thing.
Wishing you love and light,