For so long Justin has been the center of my life — as it should be. But lately the realization that my focus will shift in the not too distant future has been weighing on me. Don’t get me wrong, as he has grown up over the years I have done my best to foster independence and self-reliance, but somehow as the time approaches to put all of that into real life action, I find myself wondering, hoping and praying that I did the very best for him. Some will say that I have been too strict, others will say I have been too indulgent, and still others will say I was somewhere in the middle; the truth is — I did the best I could and that will have to be enough.
In many ways, the very essence of my job has been to prepare him to be able to live on his own without me or his Dad; that is something we have been praying for, literally, since before he was in our arms. As parents we are not given a book of any kind to help us navigate this amazing miracle thrust upon us. Oh, sure there are books out there on every topic under the sun, but none of them can be so specific as to apply to any one baby all the time. Sometimes you just have to wing it. Well, that is exactly what we did, but I am not going to sit here and pretend that we did everything right, or even close to it. I will tell you, however that we did everything the best way we thought we should. Over the years there have been some (sometimes many) that disagreed with how or what we did with our son — sometimes even family members. One thing I think everyone was clear on, however, was that we loved him and wanted the best for him. In the end that is what really mattered.
As we approach his 18th birthday and subsequent high school graduation, I am suddenly a little overwhelmed. Ok, maybe not the exact word I am looking for, but somewhat accurate nonetheless. Anyway, as that day approaches I am hit square in the face with many questions and wonderings; at times I question if I did enough to make sure he will thrive and not just survive on his own — other times I wonder if I did enough to foster a sense of independence that will push him to be his very best. The list goes on and on… Then all of a sudden out of the blue he will say or do something that speaks directly to these things and I am assured that he will indeed be ok. He still has a lot to learn, but don’t we all, really? After all, none of us know everything, so we are all still students of life. Right?
Now, before you start to think that I am wallowing in grief, self-pity or something else similar, I will tell you that I am not — not at all. There are just as many days, probably more, that I sit and wonder at how well he has turned out and marvel at the future that awaits him. Because of (or in spite of) his upbringing he is an intelligent, strong, capable and engaging young man who truly enjoys helping others. Somehow, that helpless newborn with whom we were blessed is set to venture out on his own and put his mark on this world; he is almost an adult and headed off to college. Wow! Where has the time gone?! I think, for me, the simple answer is — it has gone into his life — every second — every tear — every smile — every moment — has gone into his life so that he can one day make a difference. He has already made a difference in my life, as well as many others, but now it is time for him to find his own path and seek his own destiny. Armed with what he has been taught, what he has seen and what he has felt; the good and bad together have created this wonderful young man ready to stretch his wings and fly. Now, the real test begins…
Now, the big question remains — when do I plan the BIG party? Hmmm… What? oh, no, not his graduation party thing. I mean the real party — you know the one — the one where Mom and Dad celebrate the fact that they not are no longer dealing with teenage high school drama. YES — the one that comes the day AFTER he leaves for college. After all — we deserve it, right?! 🙂
Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!