To My 16-Year-Old: You'll Never Know I Cried As You Walked Away

by Gina Bonifas
Originally Published: 
Courtesy of Gina Bonifas

To my son,

You’ll never know that I cried today as you walked away….

Today is your 16th birthday.

From the day you were born and even before that, I have loved you and cared for you and been the one to hold you and soothe you when you were little…

And today I just dropped you off at basketball practice for probably the very last time. Soon you will get your license and gain your freedom to go out into this wonderful world without me, and hopefully make it better, as I pray I have raised you to do.

Courtesy of Gina Bonifas

But you’ll probably never know, I cried as you walked away today. My heart was happy to see the young man you have grown to be. But a part of my heart broke as you walked away today because I know I won’t have that time with you anymore. Those few seconds on the road together, will be far and few between.

I loved our chats as we would drive to and from practice. I loved the way you giggled at me when I would sing along with the radio. I smiled inside when you would roll your eyes at me because your music was inappropriate, and not meant for your mama’s ears. I loved when we turned the music up and jammed to what I called the “good” songs and you referred to as “oldies.” And that smile, that smile you would flash me when you made a mistake practicing driving is something I will hold in my heart forever.

But most of all, I am going to miss all of those little tiny moments where you would open up and talk to me in the car. It was just you and me. No siblings, no life, no homework, no phones going off, no world around us, it was just us. Just us discussing your day, your friends, the good and bad of the world, or simply just a quick “It was a good day, Mom.” I will forever cherish those moments. They are some of my favorites.

Courtesy of Gina Bonifas

So, today I cried as you walked away from my car knowing that soon, you would get that small bit of freedom that you so desperately have been waiting for, and I have unsuccessfully tried to hold onto.

Dear God, please keep him safe and watch over him. Watch over his siblings and friends who will be riding with him and always bring him home to me.

Son, always know that I will be waiting for you to return and praying while you are gone. You are my whole world and I can’t wait for you to see what this wonderful world has waiting for you. I will always cherish and miss that little boy, strapped into his car seat, eating Teddy Grahams and singing the songs that I once approved of.

So yes, I cried today as you walked away from my car, but I know you are walking into so many wonderful things that I can’t wait for you to experience. Happy Birthday my dear child! And don’t forget to ask your mom to go for a drive every once in while. You will make her day.

This article was originally published on