It happened. Last night I was scrolling through the Book of Face, and it happened. I saw a friend’s happy pictures of her son’s 13th birthday party. Everyone gathered around him and the cake ringed with flame. Smiles everywhere. I was happy for them. For a moment.
Then my heart just broke. I swear in the next moment the future unfolded before me, and I saw my own son turning 13, then 18, then leaving home, then…then…then… I swear I could hear the sound of my heart breaking. I swear it.
My boy…he’s my boy. He’s my first. He’s my baby. He’s growing too fast. Everything is happening too fast. I feel like I’m not ready for any of this.
Just yesterday I was correcting his behavior, and we were literally eye to eye. A few moments later when he slammed the door and I called him back to ask him stop slamming doors out of anger, he was in shoes and a bit taller than me. I’m not ready for this.
I think that’s the point. That’s the reason for the breakdown last night. It’s not because he’s not ready to continue to grow. It’s because I’m the one who isn’t ready. I can’t.
I can’t let go of my boy. I can’t let go. For so long he has been safe with me. For so long he has been happy with me. For so long he’s been all mine. And now, little by little I’m supposed to start sharing him with the world. Well guess what? I don’t want to.
I want to stop time and keep my boy with me. Did I really become a mother so that my children would one day leave me? How did I not think this through? I can’t let them go.
People talk about mothers like we’re these terribly unselfish creatures. I think most mothers are. I’m not. I’m an awfully selfish person. Wickedly selfish. I want my babies. I want them with me always. They’re mine.
I have had my son for 12 years. No one tells you what that will feel like when there begins to be a separation between the parent and the child. No one tells you that it’s painful. I haven’t finished with it yet, so I can’t say for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is like a second labor, a second delivery that a mother and child go through together. Instead of a physical labor, this is an incredibly painful pushing and pulling of the soul that delivers an adolescent into young adulthood.
I can’t. I can’t do it. I don’t want to. I want to keep him as he is right now. He’s sweet. He’s dorky. He’s smart. I’m not ready for anything to change.
But it’s going to change. Isn’t it? The tiny voice inside me is whispering I cannot stop time. My son will grow, and my heart will break. All I can do is keep loving him. I guess he’ll always have that.
And we’ll just have to make the most out of every single day that we all have together. We’ll have to laugh together every single day so that he remembers that we laughed a lot in our home. And we will have to work hard every day so that he remembers that we worked in our home. And we have to pray every day so he remembers that we prayed every day in our home. If those are the only three things that my son remembers by the time the inevitable future arrives and he leaves, then I guess it’s OK-ish. And I guess I can do this…sort of.
Take It, and Be Thankful