I looked at my calendar this morning. I think it lied to me. It said my baby, my sweet little baby boy, born just yesterday, has his senior prom on Saturday. That just can’t be right. . . I’m sure it’s a mistake.
I flipped a few pages ahead and it lied to me again! For some reason the calendar thinks in 31 days he will graduate from high school! No, no. That can’t be right! I’m not ready!
Wait. . . deep breath. . . ahhh
Now that I’ve calmed down a bit, maybe he wasn’t born just yesterday, but certainly it wasn’t more than a year ago. I remember it so clearly. A year ago we brought him home from the hospital. He was tiny and perfect and I was terrified. How could the hospital let me leave with a baby? As if I knew what to do with it! But they did. They trusted me with that little life and forced me to work on trusting myself. How could they do such a thing?
Only 11 months ago, I’m pretty sure, I watched him crawl down the hallway stopping every so often to make sure I was watching. One month later, he perfected his perfectly imbalanced full tilt run and life seemed to change drastically. My goodness, it couldn’t have been more than nine months ago when I fretted about getting him to give up the binky. . . I was sure he’d be graduating from high school with a binky in his mouth. Hmmm, but graduation is YEARS away. My calendar is just wrong. The binky is gone though, so if I’m the one whose wrong, we’re good.
The reality is my son is six months from turning 19. Where exactly does the time go? I’m not sure. It could simply be sucked into some wild vacuum, but I remember it all so clearly. Every moment, every tear, every laugh, every owie, every hug, every argument, I remember it all. Every second.
When my sweet little boy was 4 he sat in the backseat while I drove to the grocery store. We lived in Lake Oswego then. A town full of over privilege, among other things. As we drove through our neighborhood I saw two boys that looked to be about 16 walking down the street. They were white, but had the white make up on their face to make them more white (I never understood this), they were wearing long black rain coats, even though it was a sunny day and they had blacked out their eyes, blackened their hair and just looked miserable. I sighed when I saw them. My son said “what’s wrong mommy?” I said “Those boys are making their mommies so sad.” He looked out the window and then looked at me in the rear view mirror and said “I will never make you sad mommy, I promise.”
That is one of my favorite memories of the last 18½ years. I have many awesome memories but that one is forever etched in my heart. He was so sincere, so sure, so eager to please me with his promise. I wanted to pull over and take out a piece of paper and have him sign on the dotted line to keep that promise. I didn’t do that, though. I just soaked in his innocence.
He has certainly had his share of making me sad over the years. While he never did the Goth or Emo thing (please note those are words my children have taught me, I could not define them if my life depended on it) he’s had other struggles, other battles, other teenage angst issues that have caused me and his father a great deal of heartache.
But now? Right now he is this amazing young man who loves and respects his mother in ways I thought, not too long ago, were lost to him. He is the example I hoped he would be to his younger brother and he is getting ready to attend his senior prom (in a tuxedo no less) and then he will graduate.
I’m not ready for this time in our lives to be over, even though I know it’s not really over, but merely moving into the next phase. I’m just not ready.
He called me this morning from my house. He doesn’t live with me, but he doesn’t have a first period class so he can be found hanging out at my house on any given morning. He called because he wanted to tell me he had located the sugar ant nest and had used the chemicals he had purchased, on his own, to take care of them. He instructed me on what I should do when I came home and reminded me of the danger to the dog. He was parenting me.
He sounded so grown. So sure of himself. So happy that he was able to do this, fix this problem, for me. He sounded like my baby, all grown up and it made my heart hum. I love him so and while I’m not ready for this next phase, and our new positions in it, I’ll try hard to hold back the tears as we move forward.
What else can I do?
The hospital was sure I would be able to handle it.
So handle it I will.