When a Son Becomes a Man

TJ Installation with JoelleMy oldest son is twenty-six today.  Happy Birthday T.J.  This day is different from any other birthday because it is the last birthday that he will be our single-son.  At this time next year he will be married and that means something significant.

I cannot write that he will no longer be our son because that is just not correct.  But being married to someone else means just that and when your child is married….well….it is hard to explain; they are no longer ‘just’ yours. 

He and Joelle have been together for a while and she is such a terrific woman, perfect for TJ in so many different aspects.  Moving forward in the not-too-distant-future my son will have another title, husband.  There is a lot to that title and it means that he will be drawn to another and mom and dad take on a different role in his life; as it should be and has been since the beginning of time.

Those who read my articles know that I am extremely proud of my three children and I have shared many times on their uniqueness from each other.

My feelings today are not sad but rather mixed.  I could not be happier for him as he begins his life with Joelle but there is feeling that one feels when you realize that your son is a man and child no more.  As the song states, ” A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home and they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one……” 

While growing up you always know that day will come and I thought I had until the wedding day to feel that way, but it hit me last night.  I started to think about baseball games, and lacrosse games, and just…….everything growing up.

I remember the first time he came home with his face covered and clothes smelling like a burning building from the first fire he fought as a volunteer fireman.  I remember the many times we heard him clumping down the stairs and the blue light of his car flashing as he raced to another fire call.  How I prayed each time he left, was thankful he came home, and how my heart was so full of pride as I knew he ran into the very thing so many ran away from; all to help others.

I remember Tommy.  Tom was such a great friend to TJ who died suddenly from a heart ailment that no one knew existed.  I remember TJ’s many friends that are in the fire department also and from work, and from the neighborhood.  Good friends.

I remember the handful of times that he cried in my arms and I felt so fortunate that I could be there for him.

I remember his sense of humor, his love for animals, and his love for the sports teams he cherishes.

I will continue to pray that he ‘gets the call’ and receives his lifelong dream of entering the New York Police Department.

I know that there are many great things for him and Joelle to share in a life time of building memories.  There will be pain too as life throws things at you and you must deal with them and move on; but the two of them have a great start and foundation from which to build.

My pride in who he is, is only surpassed by my love for him. 

My birthday wish is that you seek the highest, enjoy the present, have health and know that riches are what you make them not what you have, and enjoy your time with the partner you have chosen; she is the best partner you could have–enjoy each other.

Happy 26th Birthday son.  May your life bring you everything you want and ready you for the things you don’t.  Have a great day.  Love always, Dad.

I am not just a diabetes dad.

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2 replies on “When a Son Becomes a Man”

Tom that was beautiful, you made me cry , they truly are perfect for each other and you are so proud of who he is. And I am so proud of who Joelle is, they will be happy together. thank you.

SO glad our families are being united. It is so clear to me why Joelle is who she is; and surely there is much for you and Joe to be proud of in all that she does.

Talk soon.

(Editor’s note: The posted reply is from Joelle’s mom)

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