Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Growing Up and Growing Old

Today is my son’s 18th birthday. My son is still at football camp. On his birthday. Before he left he said, “Mom, this is the last time you’ll see me as a 17-year-old.” My heart has been hurting ever since.

My baby is grown up. When my daughter turned 18, it didn’t hurt like this, although it did a few weeks later, when I drove away from that dorm in the middle of Kansas without her! But I had her brother and he kept me busy (he was 5 at that time), so I didn’t have time to think. But this is my last one. My nest is not empty (he says he is going to a college where he can commute, because he’s not leaving home), but it seems different. Of course, he’s been gone all week, so the house should seem emptier, but we’ve been at VBS ever since he left, so we haven’t had much time at home. And our oldest granddaughter has obligingly asked to spend the night with us twice, so she has been an extra person, but it’s just too quiet or something.

My emotional milestones have never been the same as everyone else’s. My mother wept for days when each of her children started first grade. I pulled away from the school with a happy heart. The day my daughter started middle school (at my old Jr. High) I cried all the way to work and for most of the morning. When I dropped my son off for his first day at middle school (now moved to my old high school) I sobbed so hard I had to pull over. When my daughter started college it really didn’t bother me (except for the 800+ miles between us), but her graduation day was one of the saddest days I have experienced.

I don’t know why 18 is hitting me this hard….maybe it’s just because this is the first birthday that he hasn’t been at home. Or this is his last year to play football. Or because he’s a senior this year. Maybe it’s because he keeps reminding me that he’s 18 now. Maybe it’s because I really think he doesn’t need me anymore…..

Of course when school starts and I’m pulling my hair out over his grades, everything will be back to normal.

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