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18. Charlie.

I know the last thing a high school male wants is a love letter from his mom, but I believe that one day you will cherish these words. At least I hope you do.

When you were little, I used to do the math to figure out how old I would be when you turned 18. I cannot believe that we have reached the day that you have officially become an adult. Well, adult to everyone else. In my eyes, you will always be my little boy. The same one that would cuddle with me at night and hold my hand whenever we walked somewhere or yell, “Mom!!! Come tuck me in!” every night at bedtime.

You were such an easy baby, right from the hospital. Sleeping six hours at a time, unlike your sister, who woke up every 2-3 hours. You were a belly sleeper from day 1. If you had a warm belly, you were out like a light. Everyone freaked out that I let you sleep like that, but you loved it. You didn’t really cry unless something hurt or you were getting sick and you were even cool as a cucumber when you woke up as a toddler with both eyes stuck shut from pink eye (freakin’ daycare lol). You gave a little whimper and called for me, then we fixed it. A warm washcloth revealed red eyes under the goop, but you were fine with a warm bath and a little medicine. You played all day, just as happy as could be.

“Sissy” (Avery) has been your “A-1 since day 1”. She couldn’t wait for you to arrive and once you did, you were her baby and that was it. She was instantly your protector, mother hen, cruise director, and interpreter. She changed your diaper, helped dress you, bathe you, everything. There is not a single person on this planet that spent more time with you when you were a baby than your sister. Not even me (once I went back to work), not Dad, not Mema or Sito either. It was Avery. The two of you were an inseparable pair. A team. I know as you guys get older, you grow apart as siblings naturally do, but you have her heart forever and I think deep down she has yours too - even if you’re too “chill” to admit it. I can’t verbalize how happy it makes me to listen to you two while you sit on the couch and talk about current events or debate political topics or talk about your plans for the day or even the future. It is the greatest gift in the world. The two of you are the absolute best parts of me and your dad.

You have always been a little on the quiet side but manage to break your silence with some off the wall, hilarious “one-liner” or random thought that was probably bouncing around in your brain for a long time. One of my favorite all time stories was after you learned to read and you would say the names of businesses out loud from the back seat as we passed them. The first sign I remember you saying is “Car Wash” and you were so excited that now you know what that says. From then on, you named as much as you could from your booster seat. I think you were already 8 or 9 in this story, but one random day, we passed Adultmart on the highway. We had driven passed it at least fifty times in your lifetime by then, but that day you noticed it enough to peak your curiosity and from the back seat you ask “Mom. What do they sell at Adultmart?” Avery looks at me with an expression of “oh boy…” on her face (how she knew what it was by the age of 11-12 I have no idea, but she was smarter than the average kid anyway and picked up on more than I ever realized back then). Not sure how to answer your question, all my brain could come up with at the time was “oh- they sell things that only adults are allowed to buy”. This answer satisfied Avery, but you needed to confirm that what you were thinking was accurate, so the next sentance we hear out of your mouth is “ohhhhh, so that’s where you go to buy fireworks and bombs and stuff then.” Period. Matter of fact. It was no longer a question. I never knew what to expect from you, your mind worked so differently from your sisters. She just rolled her eyes and of course I’m driving down the road laughing silently with tears running down my face because it was such a funny conclusion to your query that I couldn’t control myself. I’m sure you know this by now, but they do not sell fireworks or bombs in Adultmart and today you’re old enough to walk in there and see for yourself. I don’t like it. Not at all. But I will cherish those unintentional moments of humor for the rest of my life.

We found out pretty early on that you are a kinetic learner and outdoorsy. No surprise on the outdoorsy part, since you were your dad’s sidekick. Whatever he did outside, you did it too. You learned best by doing things with your hands. God forbid you have to sit in a class and be “talked at" all day. Starting in third grade and all the way through high school still, teachers have told me that you have a hard time concentrating in the classroom and they often catch you daydreaming. Most likely about hunting.

Hunting with your dad was your favorite, even though you’d fall asleep in the beginning. I remember the one and only time, you were putting out apples with your dad, walking through the woods, and you called me because you missed me. No reason, you were busy doing outdoor stuff, but you just wanted to talk to me right then. You were only about 10 years old when that happened. I miss those moments already, and you’re not even out of high school yet.

Even as a toddler you were always moving. Sitting still just bored you unless you and Avery were playing and your job was to sit and wait while she “taught you” or “cooked for you” or whatever. You put together Legos and Lincoln logs and kinetix. The Timbertech deck samples became building blocks when you were stuck at work with me when needed, and you even turned pvc plumbing parts into musical instruments. As long as your hands were moving, your brain was working and you were happy as a clam in a little corner somewhere just working away on a project. This is still true today and probably always will be, except now it’s cars and sighting in bows and guns and stuff. Next, I believe, it will be building your first home.

Remember when Sis got a job at Granny Joe’s and she had to learn the menu? So she had us sit at the kitchen table while she took our orders over and over again? And after you ordered something you’d say “scratch that” and order something else. After the third or fourth time of that she was so flustered and you were just like “Well, people do that. You can’t get mad, they won’t tip you.” She loved you and hated your guts at the same time. “Scratch that.” Man, that was funny. You couldn’t wait to get up from the table and just go outside.

How many times did you have a great idea and come running inside like “Mom, I need a screwdriver, some fishing line, a lighter, and a pair of tweezers.” And my response would be, you’re not getting a lighter, you’re 8 and you’ll burn the house down. “But I really need it.” Or that time when we were spray painting outdoor furniture at the duplex and I wanted you to wear glasses but you came downstairs wearing a scuba mask, because the paint fumes tickled your nose and you didn’t like that. So much laughter because of you.

You’ve always been my “surfer without an ocean”. You have such good character for a young man. So much that you’re faced with just rolls off your shoulders. I think to some it seems like you just don’t care, but I think it’s because you just have faith that things will work out as they should and you’ll just wait and see. It seems as though the anxiety bug did not bite you, and I pray to God that it never does. You know right from wrong and tend to stay on the right side of things. Standing up for the underdog when needed and not bullying people even though, physically you could. You’ve been able to defend yourself in the few situations you’ve needed to, and done so with clarity and intention to stop or diffuse the fight without causing major injury if it wasn’t necessary. That kind of self control is admirable because most people don’t have it.

Because Dad and I used to fight so much and our divorce was not so friendly, I really thought it would affect the way that you would behave in a relationship, but I was completely wrong about that and I will forever be grateful. First of all, I adore Ava, your girlfriend. I truly hope that we keep her forever, I believe the two of you are a perfect match and I couldn’t have picked a better partner for you. You’re both young, and only time will tell, but I’ve been bending God’s ear about that more than He probably likes lol. It’s so nice to hear from her that you are sweet hearted and respectful to her. It’s how you always were as a little boy, and I’m happy to know that your true character has not changed as you grew older and your peers didn’t affect how you treat women. Eventually you will become a dad, and probably have to raise a daughter. The most important role you will ever play besides Daddy, is Husband and I think you’ll be good at that too. But that’s a while from now, so let’s not talk about it yet.

I am so proud of your independence. Independence in a teenager is such a double edged sword for a mom. I can honestly say, that if you moved out right now (don’t do that), that you could support yourself and take care of your own home. You are smart and very resourceful. You are a damn hard worker when it’s time to work and you can cook. Because of these things, you’ll never starve. But it also means that I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I want to because, you just don’t need me like you used to. In almost everything, “You got this” and I love it and hate it at the same time. That’s why I get up with you on school days, if the only thing I can do is keep you from oversleeping or make you a breakfast sandwich while you brush your teeth, I’ll do it and I’ll take those 5 minutes I get with you, and the hug before you leave. I want to spend more time with you teaching you to plan financially for the future. You have no problem earning money, but your spending habits could use a little more discipline lol, and it’s time to start planning for your retirement as well. If I can save you some financial struggle by sharing what I’ve learned, I’m going to do it. You just have to listen to me.

You have big plans for your future and I’m excited to have a front row seat to see what you’ll do as an adult. Build that giant barndominium with the 5 car garage. Start that youtube channel and hunt all over the world. Forget being afraid to fly, it’s nothing and you’ll be fine. You’ve already done it anyway. Don’t let fear stop you from doing anything that you love, ever. Fear is a liar. Travel the world and learn about different cultures. It’s naive to believe that the United States is the best place on the planet. It’s just not true and as you get older, I hope you learn that. Are we lucky? Absolutely, but family, friends, and media are not the only source of information. Personal experience trumps all of them. Get out there. Have a beer in a pub in Ireland, eat pasta in Italy, see the northern lights in Norway, whatever - just go. Life is short and there is so much to do. Go do it all baby boy. Do it all.

But first, one last wrestling season. This one is a tough one for me. After this season, there will be no more “Charlie Hop” and I will miss watching you out on the mat. From your first bloody nose and crying, to your arm being held up “winner” by the ref, I have loved every second of watching you wrestle. I believe it’s the best sport in the world and has taught you more discipline than anything else could have. I hope you give this last season every ounce of what you have in you and leave it all on the mat at the end. Win or lose, never stop fighting and know that your mom is always proud of you. Don’t get annoyed at all of the photos and videos that I’m about to take this season, wrestling may be your sport, but remember… When you’re done with it, so am I. I want to capture as many moments as I can for myself, but also for you to share with your littles when you have them. Enter this last season with a Champion’s heart and carry it through to the end. A season of no regrets. I’ll be with you the whole way.

Charlie. Dickey. Monsterman.

Happy 18th Birthday.

I love you so much.

You’re grounded. Come home and never leave.

But if you do leave, then I hope that you are always surrounded by love and comfort.

  • I Love You, Mom. (Mom, Momm, MOmmmmmm, Mommy, MOOOOMMMM, Mom!)


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