You are 17 “and a half”, as you like to remind me.
As if being 18 will make you a real adult.
Not 18, not 20, not 28……
I think real adulthood settles in somewhere in the 30’s, I FINALLY feel like I’ve gotten there. But probably 15 years from now I’ll be thinking how I still didn’t have a clue back then….. when I was just 39.
I think a lot about how much I’ll miss you, because again, you like to remind me how soon you’ll be leaving. Off to college, adventure, LIFE.
You laugh at me because I finally start tearing up every time we talk about it, when before I was just on your case about not missing deadlines and getting all those college visits scheduled.
Of course I love you. But I have grown to really, really like you. The person you are. I dread you being gone from my day to day routine. I feel sad for myself, and for everyone that will have to put up with me after you leave.
I was driving home today, thinking about how people become parents, and more specifically how women become moms.
You are the person who first made me a mom.
When did I start to FEEL like a mom?
It wasn’t when you lived inside of me or even just after having you. I wanted you, I loved you, but I can look back now and say no, I didn’t feel like a mom yet.
I grew into it, as you grew.
We reached milestones together, mine as your mother, and yours as a growing child. My self consciousness as a parent gone by the time you hit preschool….and I fought with anyone who would dare stop you from hugging your friends goodbye, or from keeping chapstick in your backpack.
I became strong for you, from being your mom.
I’m still becoming, I don’t think we ever really stop. And again, you have been the catalyst for so many of the things I have become… A mom, the mom of a teenager, soon to be the mom of a child who has grown up enough to leave home…and one day the mom left at home as the rest of your siblings follow you.
And I like to believe the things I tell you about our relationship. How it will change as you grow older, and right now I know you are so ready to get away…but that eventually you will come back. I tell you how close we will be, even closer. I believe this, and want you to believe it too.
You are becoming independent, and I know I’ve pushed a bit lately, worried I’ve sheltered you too much and wanting to make sure you can handle it alone…ordering pizza by yourself and making your own appointments…buying your own tampons. (Alright, we both know I’m going to send you care packages with all that stuff plus chocolate…). But still, being away is going to be so new and exciting…that for a while I am going to become more of an obligation. You will HAVE to call your mom, you will HAVE to spend time with us on breaks from school…you won’t need me the way you did before.
But time has this way of going on…and as you are becoming an adult, a wife, a mom, I will be there right along with you. Becoming your friend, a mother-in-law, a grandmother…
I am so grateful for this journey, and for having you to share it with me.