Yesterday I got an email from my 21-year-old son’s girlfriend, telling us what she’d gotten him for Christmas, so that we didn’t get him the same thing. It was a thoughtful gesture on her part. Still, a small part of me felt as if she’d just taken over what had been my role for the past 20 years.
It is wonderful to watch your children grow and mature and start to find their way through life. It’s damn difficult too, to lose the children you remember and see them moving away from you. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are supposed to become less and less dependent on their parents, and I have tried my best to make sure that I have raised them to become responsible, independent adults. It’s not easy to let go though.
Yesterday I sat next to him at the table and watched as he ate a turkey drumstick. I remembered the Thanksgiving when he was five and insisted that he wanted an entire drumstick. He couldn’t finish it of course, but I remember watching him then and laughing at how huge that drumstick looked in his hand. Now he’s bigger than I am.
He’s been floundering a bit this past year – not sure of what he wants to do with his life. His dad & I have tried to talk him into living at home for a while and taking classes at the local community college. He wants to stay in the town where he was going to college and work down there, with the goal of going back to college next year. He is stubborn though - must take after his dad! ;-) - and worked at getting a job and an apartment he could afford. So, we're not fighting him anymore, but letting him try his wings.
Today, we signed the title of our old “beater” van over to him, and had a discussion about how to go about establishing residency in another state. Then we hugged him and watched him drive away. We've watched him leave before, but it felt different this time. It seems like he's turned a corner, and we're heading for a new phase in life. It really hit me that my "baby" is a man now, with his own life. It's a strange feeling. I'm proud of him, and happy for him, and kind of sad too.
I knew this day would come, but it just seems like it's way too soon. :-(