Today is a big day, is your birthday, you are no longer a child, but a man. That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around, given it seems like just a few days ago you were just a little boy, running up to me for a hug with your sweet little voice and boundless energy. In the moment you were born, I looked at you and you took my breath away. Parenting you has been the ride of a lifetime filled with unconditional love, laughter, joy, fear, frustration, tears, for both of us. I’ve worried about so many things, if I was doing what was best for you, do you know everything we were supposed to instill in you? Did I pray for you enough? Hug you enough? Say how proud I am of you enough? Discipline and say no enough? Do the right things to keep you safe? Take you on enough adventures? I know you can cook for yourself and do you your own laundry, but did I forget anything important….do you know how balance a checkbook, file taxes or change a tire? Will you know that laughter and forgivenes as important as love? I worry about these things. But the reality is, that when I look up at your 6’2” frame, I see a man I am so very proud of. I see man of God. Being a man of faith means being humble, having character, compassion, courage, loyalty. I see all of those things in you. Your values may not always be popular, but stand by them, there’s honor and respect for those who stand up for what they believe in. Always speak your truth. You have a wonderful heart. It’s a good thing to be selfless, to listen, really listen, to others out there in the world. Those who listen will find real beauty. Seek patience, explain anger instead of acting on it. Apologize when you are wrong. Hug those you love often. Keep your promises. Work hard. Love fully. I pray for you every day Juan. I’ve asked God to help you grow in grace, love, honesty, integrity. I’ve asked Him to bring you closer to His word, so that you will crave His word on the good days and the bad. Seek justice and mercy in a sometimes cruel world. I’ve prayed that you have respect for yourself and others. That you would have courage, kindness and generosity. I’ve prayed and asked for your life to be filled with great joy and perseverance. That you would have compassion and empathy for others. I am so thankful to God for entrusting me with your life, your childhood, your heart. Love you with all my heart and I am so proud of you. Happy Birthday my little boy! Mom.