I think it just hit me.
My son is graduating this year. My boy. My baby.
It's truly a blend of emotions. A roller coaster.
A mix between.
I love you. I don't like you.
You're hilarious. You're driving me crazy.
Come close to me. It's time for you to go.
A balancing act of boyhood and manhood.
A dance of too much control and independence.
A battle of holding tightly and letting go.
It's hard. It's weird. And nothing in my parenting could have ever prepared me for this.
There are days I want so much more for him. I see his potential. I want to "make him" do things. Like pick up his towel. Clean his bathroom. Get a job!
Yet, I'm so very proud. Proud of his choices. Proud of his convictions. Proud of the man he is becoming.
Some days I just look at him and marvel. Did we "make" that? Is he really ours? I mean…he's a man! But in my mind, he's still that little boy who called me "mama". Who stole my heart with his very first cry. My first born. My baby. My only son.
But he's not REALLY mine. He was given to us from above. A gift. Entrusted to us to care for. He ultimately belongs to his Creator. The One who loves him even more than me. Hard to imagine. Hard to take in.
Needless to say….nothing prepares you for this. The letting go. Nothing in the baby care books say protect your heart, someday he will leave you. Let go.
But yet. Yet it is our job as mama's. To love them fiercely. Teach them. Protect them. Bandage knees and spank bottoms. Kiss foreheads and reprimand. Celebrate and rebuke. Love. Love. Love.
They carry our hearts don't they? And…hearts are fragile.
But if you protect your heart. You miss out.
So I welcome these feelings. I welcome the surge of pride and the angst of disappointment. Parenting.
Last night was the senior fine arts night at Noah's high school. His photography from the year was on display. Not only was I proud from the stand point of photography being my "thing" - my major in college - my passion. I was proud of the work he produced. He is truly gifted.
But even more so…I watched him.
I watched him interact with students. With teachers. With adults.
My heart soared. He was poised. Confident. Engaged.
I can't even explain what this mama was feeling…no words.
Graduation is just a few weeks away. College a few months.
I'm ready. I'm not ready.
I know tears will be shed. But mostly…mostly I will celebrate my baby boy. I will let go just a little bit more. I will pray ferociously. And I will love from more of a distance. I know I will fail. But I vow to try.
It's time. It's time to let him spread his wings. It's time to watch him fly.
But when he falls - and seriously…he's a teenage boy…he WILL fall - so when he falls…I'll be there. Because I'm his mama.
I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be.
I love you Noah.