Did I Really Just DO That?

I just did something that I always knew was coming, but as usual I kept telling myself that “there are years before that happens.” Well, I can’t say that anymore…I just wished my son a Happy 20th Birthday…I no longer have a teenager. Wow…just WOW… Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was holding him for the first time and promising him that we would always love him and that he could do anything he set his mind to accomplish. As much as things change over the years, the more they stay the same. I find myself still telling him this very thing. I look back over the years and I am amazed at how much he has grown and matured over time. Gone are the days of him putting a plastic bucket on his head and running into things, immediately cackling with laughter; gone are the days that he needs his Beary Bear to comfort him through the night. Gone are the days that he needs me to do everything for him. A lot of things have come and gone in 20 years. (yes, still letting that one sink in) A lot of good, and a lot of bad have happened to us. The one constant in all of this is the love I have for him and what he does/will do. He is an amazing young man who just happens to be my son! I know that there are many amazing young men out there, but I happen to know for a fact that mine is the absolute best! If you doubt me, check my Mom’s Prerogative and have no doubt. I am entitled to and I would dare say required to believe this!

Anyway, I digress. ( I can guarantee you NEVER thought I would do that.  LOL)  Today is a milestone for him, but also for me. He gets the wonder, excitement, fear and anxiety of leaving his teen years behind him and I…well, I get the fear, anxiety, wonder and excitement of him leaving his teen years behind him. While I know he is more than capable, there is (and always will be) a part of me that so strongly wants to be there to help. I guess my new mission is to fully trust that what I have done has been enough to get him a head start and even a heads up to what is coming. While I fully acknowledge that I made a LOT of mistakes, I also see that he is turning our pretty well and – inspire of my efforts – is more than OK.

Today is the first day of the rest of his life, but it is also the first day of the rest of MY life. Not only does he have to adjust to his new reality of adulthood and such — I have to adjust to him no longer being a teen. All I know is that no matter what comes, I will always be his Mom and he will ALWAYS be my baby boy. Somehow, someway we WILL make it through and the future is bright! How could it NOT be with a son like mine?  🙂

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

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Almost There

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!

It’s a Mom Thing

Nothing quite compares to the flood of emotions and thoughts that happened when Justin left for his Jr. Prom; a flood of emotions — good, bad, realistic and unrealistic — made sure my attention was grabbed. I was excited, happy, proud, anxious, nervous and a little scared. That list may not make sense to some, but it does to me. As a Mom I have spent the last 17 years trying to prepare Justin to be able to handle himself in the real world and be independent, but letting go that little bit more was a big thing. It wasn’t the first time he took my car and drove it alone; it wasn’t the first time he had gone with friends. It wasn’t even the first time he would be out late; it was just different. That night was a process for me that started when he came home and announced he wanted to go to prom. Something in me kicked and screamed “NO!” but a bigger part of me yelled “OH YAY!!!”  Such was my battle — one side wanting my son to be happy and independent; the other wanting him to be my little boy forever.  He was growing up and there was nothing I could do about it, so I did what most parents do. I pushed all that stuff back and concentrated on the fun and happy details. That worked until I saw him ready to go — looking handsome in his tux with corsage in hand. All the good emotions flooded, but the fears and other things started creeping in too.  Then he was gone — off to a wonderful night he had worked so hard to plan and I was left at home with only my thoughts and emotions.

After everything was said and done, he had a fantastic time and we were all happy about that. I know that I have many more times in the not too distant future that I will need to let him go and do and be whatever it is that his life has in store; there is no doubt about that. My only hope is that I can be the kind of Mom that not only allows those growth opportunities, but encourages them as well. After all, that is the whole point of raising them up to do things for themselves and think on their own, right?  Well, that is my approach; so far it seems to be paying off — then again some of the things he comes up with… Well, those are for another day, or another post.

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

Teenage Boy Goggles

As I navigate the waters of parenting a 17-year-old boy, I have to remind myself to look at things through “teenage boy goggles” in order to better make sense of some things.  I will admit that it is a challenge but I am making strides toward improvement, somewhat.  At times this can be amusing, frustrating, confusing and many other things all at once, but tonight I found it quite amusing.  In case you have any doubt, the term “teenage boy goggles” is simply defined as trying to put the actions of a teen boy into perspective as to what he could possibly be thinking, envisioning or experiencing at any given time.  Scared?  Good.  So am I.  No, I am not saying I get it, but I am trying to see what he sees and if that means I have to venture to “that place” I will.  I am Mom — we know no fear, right? Well, there really is no fear like trying to see into the male teen mind, but we must try, right? Continue reading