Upon the Horrifying Realization My Oldest Child is a Grown-Up

I sat in a soft chair on the Mezzanine of the exquisite Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City and cried as I watched the back of your 18-year-old person walk to the elevators and disappear to floor 9. Son, you may wonder why I cried. You've had other jobs. This should have been no different. But it was. It was very different. You see, I realized today you're a grown-up. You may argue that 18 is not a grown-up but see why I got all choked up today and then convince me you haven't grown up yet. 
  • I cried because when a mom feels the washing over her of a love so large that her heart, mind, and soul cannot contain it, the pressure release valves open and tears flow. 
  • I cried because smiling just didn't seem to be enough.
  • I cried because today there was something different about you that seemed very grown-up and there's nothing I can do to stop that.
  • I cried because I was so pleased you landed the job of your current dreams, and when you live your dreams you are a grown-up. 
  • I cried because I was so confused as to how you went from 2 years old to almost 19 overnight, and remembering that it was 21 years ago that I was standing on that very Mezzanine, the bride who had just married your now late dad in the Salt Lake City temple.
  • I cried because I desperately wanted to share that moment on the Mezzanine with you and him, but I could only imagine his face, his smile, and that he felt the bursting of overwhelming love in his chest. I cried because having to imagine reminds me of how much I miss him in reality. 
  • I cried because you have made peace with having to wait a lifetime to meet your dad which means you are a grown-up.
  • I cried because I realized how pleased I am that you are such a hard worker and don't know how to live an unproductive life. That means you are a grown-up.
  • I cried because you refuse to waste hours on mindless pursuits and I am beyond impressed by that because that means you are a grown-up.
  • I cried because I felt so grateful that your step-dad, Tex, coached me in private moments about how to let you grow up to be a man and not stand in your way.
  • I cried because it's a beautiful man like Tex that allows a beautiful man like your dad, Mark, stay in your life as a real and every day part of our lives. Tex keeps his memory alive to honor you and your dad's special relationship. Tex is a grown-up. 
  • I cried because you practice your acoustic guitar for hours a day. I thought about it because it represents your journey of development and how you have the skills and tenacity to accomplish hard things. That means you are a grown-up. 
  • I cried because like your late-father you love languages and speak fluent German. Now you can read his German LDS mission journals from his time in Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig. Learning a new language of your own volition to better understand your father and another culture means you are a grown-up.  
  • I cried because you let me give you an LDS missionary haircut. For years I heard you say,"Mom, I'll let you give me a missionary haircut when I grow up."  
  • I cried because you're my oldest and I don't really know what I'm doing and it scares me, and yet is peaceful at the same time.
  • I cried because being your mom has been one of the greatest evidences of God's love in my life.
  • I cried because no one has ever told me what to do when you finally realize your son has outgrown your young mothering and your role needs to change to something totally unknown. 
  • I cried because being a grown-up means being responsible, working hard, loving others, and doing good in the world.
  • I cried because I realized by this definition you are a grown-up and there's no going back..  
So today I cried not because you got a great job at a beautiful place. I cried because I said goodbye to a 19-year adventure that I loved, and I cried because I said 'hello' to a new adventure of being a mother to a young adult who is wide-eyed and eager to explore a world of possibilities.  

I cried because I realized that I love you deeper more and more every day. You know I'm all about loving deeper.



  • Your Daughter, Kat
    Your Daughter, Kat Utah
    Tell Matt I love him.

    Tell Matt I love him.

  • Rafferty
    He said he loves you, too...

    He said he loves you, too...

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