We’ve been busy, getting ready to ship my first born off to middle school, which is 1/2 hour drive into town from where I live. Oh, the nerves we all felt. By mid-August, the first day of school hung over this house like a doomsday cloud, making me startle awake at 2 am to fret, wondering how he’ll do, how he’ll fit in, how can I accept the very bittersweet fact that my son is growing up. The what-ifs, the worries, the butterflies, not so much for me, but for him and this new adventure he was heading out on, without me.
And so, that first day came, and when Nicholas trudged up the hill and opened the door, I anxiously and excitedly asked him how his day went.
He nodded at me with a grin on his face and said, all cool and relaxed, “It went good Mom.”
Phew…. the release of nerves was tangible, and we all had such a great sleep that night.
I see already, after the first week, a new boy in my home. One who has a separate identity from me. One who will have friends I don’t know anything about. One who has a new confidence about his place in this world, and all that he has to offer. And, sadly, one who will not share every detail about his life with anymore.
I am okay with that. But it’s so weird, you know, going from knowing every nuance of your child’s life to not being able able to visualize what they are doing during the day. I was always able to tell when they would go poop for God’s sake, and now… now, he whispers to his buddies about stuff and tells me it’s not any of my business.
Bittersweet, but OH, what a privilege. What a gift to witness the maturation of another human being. To be able to remember this growing boy in front of me, with the inklings of the man he will become haunting his features, and still recall the pudgy, joyous baby he once was. That baby who’s eyes lit up with laughter echo the eyes of the young pre-teen standing before me now.
Years ago, a friend who journeyed down the Motherhood Road before me once said, “Motherhood is all about letting go.”
It’s true. We have to learn to let go. Let go of that delicious newborn, so tiny and fragile. To release that baby, roly-poly with fat and giggles into a walking, trouble-seeking toddler. To admire that very being morphing into a child, learning about the world and testing our limits of what is acceptable. To marvel through the years of the growth, the loss of chubby cheeks and sweet milky kisses, to long limbs and B.O. and attitude and their realization of their own persona, challenges, issues and angst. To watch as they struggle internally about their true selves and try so hard to help that transition to be a bit smoother and easier.
To let it all go, because that is my job.
I think that I am fortunate enough to have learned the true meaning of my life.
It’s not about making millions of dollars nor traveling the world. It isn’t about discovering a cure for cancer or creating new technology.
It is, quite simply, to stand witness to my children’s lives. So that they may grow into something great.
And that, my friends, is worth more than all the money in the world.