July 28, 2002, changed my life forever. I became a mom. I didn’t plan it. I wasn’t ready. The timing was bad. The circumstances were awful. Little did I know that God had HUGE plans for this little 7 pound 1ounce, 23 inch long baby boy.💙
I was just a child myself. I didn’t know how to raise a child. Within the first few days, I was presented with a multitude of options and decisions that had to be made. It was more than my 20 year old self could handle, but thankfully I had parents that loved me and showed me grace. I didn’t have any idea how much this little LIFE would change mine. Mathis Banks was the best baby. He was a nursing champ! He slept well, cried very little…strong and resilient from the beginning. When I lost all my friends, he was my buddy. Banks was my constant sidekick for 9 years.
I messed up….A LOT….but he loved me despite poor decisions, working all the time, no money for vacations, and no daddy. We did our best, and he kept me going. It was giving him life that saved mine. Without the birth of Banks, I don’t know that I ever would have come to know Jesus. Without Banks, I wouldn’t be the person and mother I am today. Without Banks, I would be incomplete.
Sacrifice is a major part of parenting. There were times I went hungry so he could eat. There were many years daycare and babysitters spent more time with him than I did due to school and work. There was a time we didn’t have a vehicle and walked where we needed to go. There were bills that were paid late. There were some really hard times. This kid ALWAYS smiled, laughed, excelled in school, and was there to hug me and love me. He’s incredible! Some kids cave and rebel when they’re made to feel less than by their peers because they don’t have the best of possessions or don’t live on the right side of town or don’t have a dad. Not Banks! He has used it all to drive him 1.) Closer to God and 2.) In full pursuit to fulfill his dreams and prove to all those that have made him feel like a “nothing” that he is indeed a “something”. Though the first 9 years were tough, we had blessings coming. We prayed and prayed for a husband and a daddy, and In 2011, God delivered. It went from just the two of us to a family! From the first time they met, Adam and Banks were best buddies! Banks would hang on him and wrestle, and I don’t know who loved it more, Adam or Banks. As a matter of a fact, Adam told Banks he loved him before he told me! A lot changed for Banks when he was given a daddy. Adam has taught him confidence, how to tie a tie, all the ins and outs of muscle cars and cars in general, talked to him about the birds and bees😬, and taught him to drive. Because of Adam’s love, Banks is adopted and chosen!
It was not long after Banks was given a daddy that he was also made a big brother. After being an only child for 10 years, I wondered how he would take this change, but in perfect Banks form, he instantly was the absolute best big brother in the world! Seriously, he helped change diapers, play, was always willing to take a picture with Weston, and is now Weston’s role model, babysitter, and best friend. The past two summers Banks has taken care of Weston everyday while I work (40-50 hrs/week). I come home to a clean house and well-cared for 5 year old. Banks is truly an amazing kid. Most teenagers are selfish and only care about what they want during the summer, but Banks never complains about having a summer job. Weston is one lucky kid to have a brother like Banks!Banks is not only a hard worker, but he is also athletic. Over the past 16 years, he’s played 10 years of city league baseball, junior high school baseball, junior varsity school baseball, junior varsity football, and varsity football. Sports is another parenting sacrifice. It’s time-consuming and takes a lot of patience, and sometimes self-control, but it’s worth every penny and every hour spent at a ballpark and stadium. Athletes are disciplined, driven, and sports teaches kids a lot about humility, teamwork, and confidence. There’s no where I would rather be on a Friday night or an entire Saturday than watching my Banks play ball.
I’m not finished bragging yet! He is also smart…like really smart. You wouldn’t know it now, but he was actually kicked out of our local magnet school after one semester of kindergarten because the teacher said he wouldn’t behave. Of course, he had perfect grades and had not missed a question all year. That same teacher also mandated that I have him tested for attention problems. The physician wrote on a prescription pad, “This child is bored. Give him something to do!” I wish I had that teacher’s phone number now. I would send her every picture I’ve taken over the last 16 years of every academic accomplishment he’s achieved. I would also send them to the principal of that magnet school so she could see the outcome of a child she had no faith in and gave up on. Banks still makes excellent grades, just passed his first AP exam, already qualifies for scholarships at every college we’ve visited, and does an amazing job of balancing both sports and school. He’s self-motivated. He wants to be an attorney, and we have been touring college campuses to find the best place for Banks to fulfill his dreams and succeed.
As you can see, the last 16 years have been filled with trials, hardships, diseases, rejections, crying, fun, blessings, adoptions, vacations, family, sports, achievements, success, laughter, and most importantly LOVE. On Saturday, July 28, the little baby that changed my life will be 16. He’s handsome, kind, respectful, smart, athletic, funny, and destined for greatness. I’ve prayed and cried over this child. I’m his biggest fan. Together we’ve beat poverty, loneliness, hatred, discrimination, epilepsy, and every other odd that was against us. Banks, I’m so proud that you are now a man that loves God first, your family, are a loyal friend, never too big or embarrassed to take a picture with your mom, and always put others first. I knew when you were born that God had amazing plans for you. I’ve never stopped and never will stop helping you achieve every goal you have. Your birthday changed my life forever, and I could never be more thankful and proud to be your mom. The years have passed quickly, and I can’t believe your going to be 16 and a junior in high school, going to prom, and applying to college next summer. You make me proud, and you make all the hard times worth it. I will always be your biggest fan! I love you and happy birthday, my Banks!