Unfortunately, as our children grow towards adulthood, life starts handing them more complex challenges. Gone are the days of kindergarten-fixes which were mostly comprised of a few snuggles and a chocolate chip cookie.
It isn’t all bad.
The best part is watching our children’s personalities solidify into more of who-they-are. They get to start defining more what matters to them.
Weirdly, that doesn’t always align with what mom and dad deem important.
As I continue to let my boys go off into the world to discover what is most true for them, I must go and do the same for myself.
Mothers and caregivers tend to take a giant pause in their life when it comes to raising a family. This pause becomes so second-nature, we often don’t realize when it’s time to hit the reset button.
We are not meant to figure everything out in one day.
In fact, I believe we never figure everything out completely.
Life moves forward for a reason. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t.
Either way it’s moving.
We can either join in or sit back. Maybe both?
Even if we don’t make every right turn, the fact that we are on the journey is bound to lead us somewhere wonderful.
Especially if where we’ve been has already shown us such great love.
This summer has me so overwhelmed with change that I feel like part of me has shut down to cope. I am operating more in logic and less in feeling.
The feelings will have to come later.
Before we knew we were moving to a new state, we signed Full Speed up for a three-week academic class held on a college campus. Even then, while I was thrilled for him to have this unique opportunity, I was not particularly happy about him being away for three weeks. Throw some travel and our family changing addresses into the mix and I am surprised I am still standing.
The most unsettling part of this process with Full Speed was how extremely collegiate it all felt. We had to make sure he had linens and towels. He also needed shower shoes and a caddy for supplies to be used in the dorm showers.
Once we arrived at his dorm, it continued to take on a surreal quality. A feeling of yes, he is only thirteen, and yes, he will return home, but also a feeling of what our future without Full Speed may look like.
It’s not great, folks. Not great at all.
The positive is we obviously love our kid and should be grateful that we are missing him.
It would be rather telling if we broke out the bubbly and celebrated his departure with a joyful clink of glasses. There was no toasting. Only a sinking sensation that Full Speed is well on his way to carving out his own life.
I cannot tell you the willpower it took to not cry when we left him at his dorm. I held it together. I don’t know how, but I did.
My goal is to stay focused on the present moment and be mindful of what will feel supportive to him in terms of how much I communicate with him.
Unfortunately, him live-streaming his day to my phone is not an option.
Weird, I know.
Instead, I sense he is consumed by new routines, meeting new people and mastering the intensive curriculum ahead.
Texting his mom should not be a priority.
I get it.
I don’t have to like it, but I get it.
I have always known that my children have never really been mine. The most ‘ownership’ I can claim over them has maybe been the nine months I carried them. Once they arrived in the world it has been my one of my greatest honors to walk along beside them as I do my best to let them go.
Now, more so than ever before, it is time for Full Speed to walk ahead alone.
I love you, Full Speed. I am so proud to be your mom.
May this opportunity open your eyes to the infinite possibilities of life.
And remember, I am only a phone call away.
You’ve got this.
For the record, I can neither confirm or deny if T.Puzzle is missing Full Speed.
Ok, I lied.
I can confirm he totally does though he would never say it out loud.
And, I thank my lucky stars to have this one-on-one time with him.
By the time the boys and I met our friends at a local restaurant, it was well past lunchtime. My friend and I took advantage of the post-lunch lull and asked to be seated in separate booths from our small gang of boys (she has three all around my boys’ ages).
We were hoping to have some quiet conversation and allow our guys the independence to order by themselves. We had no illusions about the process. We were fine with burgers and fries for all.
Later, when we were home. The boys cracked up over how long it took all of them to order. But, they did it.
T.Puzzle was particularly amused when two of his friends ordered their burgers ‘well-done’. Through the years we always have coached him to choose ‘medium’.
“Why do you think this is so funny, T.Puzzle? Some people happen to prefer their meat to be cooked all the way through,” I said.
“Oh! I thought they were telling the waiter to let the cook know they wanted their burger to be good or else.”
We have been incredibly busy as we manage all the ins and outs of moving. It seems for every action-item crossed off the to-do list, twenty more eagerly pop up to fill its place. While I have been outwardly focused on all these necessary tasks, a part of me is aware that taking time to smell the roses with my boys is essential.
In the midst of this craziness I am making an effort every day to be present for them and to keep up with many of our traditions. We have made it to the pool, the movies and for ice cream. These are the pillars of our summer.
One day, as I contemplated the complicated logistics of our schedule, I had the strangest thought. A Target run was first-up and I actually wanted my boys to go with me.
Well, that was a first.
I scanned my body for illness. Then I did a quick mental-health status check.
I seemed to be functioning ‘normally’.
Was this what end-of-days feels like?
I don’t know.
I do know that my boys are so much fun! They have the ability to entertain me while on errands and sometimes, they are actually helpful!
Truthfully, T.Puzzle is still a bit of a loose cannon when we are out and about, but I can take it. I survived the terrible twos, threes and fours…
Some journeys are lengthy and take time to unfold. Last year, around mid-February, Mad Dog shared with me that his job could change. This change would mean we would relocate to Texas. Mostly, I handled this possibility with an open mind (mostly). I expressed to Mad Dog that I was absolutely willing to move our family to support him in his career.
Then, some weeks passed, then some months. Months turned into a year and yet, a move did not materialize.
While I was open-minded to moving, I handled the uncertainty surrounding it with much less aplomb.
Eventually, I gave up. I stopped looking at houses, stopped discussing a Texan future and focused on staying put.
I have learned enough to know that home is not a location. Home is about the life, love and adventure you create wherever you are.
Naturally, once I let go of the outcome, this is when we finally found out that Mad Dog was promoted and everything changes.
We both agree it is surreal to finally have closure. After well over a year of not-knowing, not-knowing becomes your comfort zone. Knowing feels strange.