Today is a very important day. My baby boy is 18! That means that I am no longer legally responsible for a minor child! If he gets arrested, I don't have to care. (I'm sure I will, but legally, it won't be my problem.) I was thinking about this birthday coming up and I remembered his first birthday. Around that time we took him to the Ripon Almond Blossom Festival and entered him the Diaper Derby. We must have known then that he was athletically gifted to enter him in competition so early in his life. Or perhaps, it was this event that sparked the fire of competiteveness in him and pushed him to become so accomplished as an athlete. Either way, I'm glad we did. Steel easily won his heat and then placed 2nd in the finals. I remember our biggest concern was that he would stand up and run the distance which would have disqualified him. He had to crawl the course and he was good at crawling, but he could walk by then too. When we told him this story this morning, I mentioned that I remembered the outfit he had on too. It was pair of Osh-Kosh overalls with a turtleneck and a baseball cap. He said, "That's why I lost... wind resistance."
I can't believe how fast the time has gone. It seems like yesterday when we made that trip to Ripon. He has competed so many times since then, in so many different sports and it seems like they all just happened yesterday. It has been such a gift to watch him and the pride we have felt over the years is unexplainable. My heart still swells when people come up and ask me if I'm Steel Rocha's mom. Some parents may brace themselves for bad news when they get asked that question about their kid. But for us it has always a satisfying experience. Everyone compliments his heart and his drive. They speak of his character (both on and off the field) and how much fun it is to watch him compete and although I cannot take credit, I thank them for their kindness and agree. He is extraordinary. He is my hero, and he makes it easy to be his mom.