Until yesterday I didn't even realize what this weekend really meant. I had been running around preoccupied with starting a new job when Sunday night it hit me. My youngest son turns 18 tomorrow. Where did the time go? What does that mean for him? For me?
Years ago I used to fantasize about him turning 18. The years after my divorce were rough, really rough. A lot of growth took place for me then, but the poor kids were in the middle of a war of parents... for 6 long years. I won't get into all of the drama, it's not really the point of this blog post, but I dreamed of the day my youngest turned 18 because then I would be free of it all. No more looking over my shoulder wondering what would blow up next. Then, I would have peace.
The truth is, the war ended two years ago, abruptly. Overnight, it was done. No more stress, no more problems. But there was part of me that was still holding my breath for the day he became an adult. And I didn't even realize it. It's here now, and my heart hurts. He is 18 and part of me wished it away and I am kicking myself for it.
It's not that we haven't had good times, we have. It's just.... he's grown now and I'm kind of in shock. I'm in shock that he is almost 6' 2". That he has grown into this amazing person with a drive to evolve and be the best that he can at everything. In many ways, he is a "mini" me, even though he is 6 inches taller than I am. I see myself in him in all the really great and not-so-great-face-palm-ways. I guess that just comes with the territory of being a parent. Everyone goes through it when their kids grow up. I thought I would be all good, but nah... ugly cry it is.
I guess the point of this post is a few things; time flies. Enjoy the little moments. Hold your babies tight, even and especially if you are going through a rough divorce. They need as much stability and love as you can give them. But don't be afraid to make them independent too. They need to be able to stand on their own two feet in life. Don't let your guilt for "putting them through this" cripple them like that by you doing everything for them.
Second, they chose you as a parent, and they chose your ex partner too. It had everything to do with what they came here to do this time around on the planet. Nothing is a mistake. Adversity molds them into who they are and supports where they are going. There is nothing you can do about how it ultimately molds them. Your only job is to love them the best that you can.
Third, this is your time and theirs to enter a new stage in life. It's ok to mourn the past a little. Your identity is changing and so is theirs. The timing for all of this is perfect. I start a new job tomorrow and he turns 18. Couldn't ask for a better synchronicity than that.
But I can't help, when I look at him sometimes to still see that little boy with big blue eyes walking around in his footed sleeper with his blanket in one hand and sucking his fingers of the other. That little patch of hair on his head that is 2 inches longer than all the rest flopping as he bounce-walks across the room and crawls into my lap and joyfully yells "MAMA".
It gets me every time.
But I couldn't be more proud of who he has become.