Ten years ago, I chose to take on the responsibility of a baby. I weighed my options, thought about the implications and ramifications, and decided to turn away from the future I had planned for myself. I chose a child and the life that came with him.

Earlier today, he chose me back.

I can't begin to describe the surge of emotions that flooded me when he turned to me in the middle of a store, wrapped his arms around me and said, I know you're not my biological mom, but from now on, for me, you are, okay? From now on, you are.

Tears. Laughter. Hugs. In that order. That's all I had for him there, but since then, I can't stop thinking about it. My son, the one who has never been given a choice, made one on his own without any pushing or prompting from anyone else. His first big-kid decision and he used it to choose me.

As parents, it's our job to make decisions for our children. We do it because we love them and we (hopefully) see a bigger picture and act out of love, concern, and wisdom. This is an unspoken contract established between parents and children that we all agree to in one way or another.

And I have made some huge decisions for Javi in the past years. I decided he'd be my son, that he'd have the Mountain Man as a father, and that he'd have a younger sibling (but only one). I decided that he would have no contact with his biological father. And recently I decided he'd have no contact with his biological mother.

Obviously, I don't think it was wrong to make firm, drastic decisions for my child (such as barring access to him by people who put him in psychological or physical danger) and I stand by every decision I've ever made for him. In fact, I wish I'd made those strong decisions earlier and more frequently in his life.

But not once have I consulted Javi on what he wants. I haven't allowed him to make big decisions for himself. Many times it hasn't been necessary. For instance, Javi called MM "daddy" way before our wedding in 2006 or MM's adoption of Javi in 2007. And the other times -- well, you can't ask a child to decide whether a person is a bad influence or dangerous presence. (Or, at least, I don't believe it would be fair to ask him to make that decision.)

But standing there today hearing him make and voice such a big decision? It opened my eyes and my heart. My baby boy hasn't just lived the past ten years; he's gained tremendous wisdom and experience from them. He's learned and processed and suffered consequences. He's made mistakes and accomplished goals. Right in front of my eyes, that baby is maturing into the man he'll soon be.

Today, I heard him, for the first time, choose me (us, this family that came about as a result of him). I know you're not my biological mom, but from now on, for me, you are, okay? From now on, you are. Ten years in the making, sweeter words were never spoken.

I know that our road will still be rocky and that the days will be long as we hurtle toward the teen years, but we're all here because we want to be. We have chosen each other, and that will get us through.


  • Anonymous

    My goodness, this is so gorgeous. Such an important reminder of why we parent, the hard stuff leads to such amazing stuff. His words are a testament to what you've done, and how well he has flourished in difficult circumstances. Bravo mama! Thank you for sharing this intimate glimpse into your life.

  • Bibliomama

    I admire you for all those decisions, and for how honest you've been with him. I'm glad you were so amply rewarded today (and many other times).

  • Hyacynth

    Kelly, this makes me just tear up like crazy. I love that he chose you and that he told you. I don't think some mothers are ever even chosen by their biological children in the way he voiced his love for you today. You are a strong woman who has made some amazingly tough decisions, and I think his ability to make such a decision has been from watching you. So glad you shared ... definitely made my heart so much fuller today.

  • Rudri

    Kelly, this is awesome. I had tears as you conveyed your words about Javi today. It is a clear testament to who you are as a mother.

  • The Drama Mama

    Aww, Kelly. My heart is bursting for you and the tears flow down my cheeks. I know how much this means to you. What a wonderful gift Javi gave you. I'm in awe.

  • Cheri

    Javi is a wonderful young man and you may be surprised to find that this moment sticks with him as strongly and clearly as it sticks with you. I remember clearly when I was 12, asking my Mom if she and my Dad got divorced (yes, I totally saw it coming) could I PLEASE stay with her? Which back then was a huge request since she wasn't my bio-Mom and courts strongly favored blood over the best interests of the child. The decisions you are making will allow Javi to grow into a responsible young man - which would probably not happen under the influence of people who don't have his best interests at heart. Enjoy this bond! You earned it.

  • Liz

    That gave me chills! amazing! and a moment you will cherish forever!

  • HynesMom

    Bawling now! So sweet and wonderful.

  • Lori

    Oh Kelly.... This brought me to tears. My heart is bursting with happiness for you.
    You are raising a WONDERFUL young man there!!!!!!!

  • Cheryl

    What a beautiful moment. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Amber

    You've just made me cry. What a HUGE moment for both of you.

  • Jack

    That sounds like a great New Years gift. Very happy for you.

  • Courtney

    What a beautiful post, he has chosen a wonderful person, I am sure it was a easy decision for him!

  • cindy glawson

    Made me cry! What a neat thing.

  • Stacia

    Sniffle, sniffle. Sometimes our kids say the most perfect things. Even though he just celebrated a birthday, what a gift he gave you (no doubt because of all that you have given him)!

  • Cathy

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

  • ck

    Those might be the most beautiful sentences I've ever heard. I'm sitting here, tears in my eyes. I am so happy for you. For your family. For Javi. For choosing each other. And for vocalizing it as well. Thank you SO much for sharing this moment.

  • Ben

    This is beautiful.

  • Jessica

    This truly brought tears to my eyes, and made my heart overflow with happiness and joy for you. To be chosen. So very beautiful.

  • BigLittleWolf

    This is wondrous. What more could any parent want?

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