When he was five, I remember taking off the training wheels and holding the seat because I did not want him to fall. Today I dropped him off at college, took off the training wheels on the bike of life. I got up enough courage to let go. It was a happy/sad day.
I borrowed that from my husband. I thought it was so indicative of how I was feeling. Yesterday our son officially left for college. I wasn't sure how this would affect me. What emotions would I have? How will our house adjust without his intermittent presence?
One thing that drew me to my husband when we met nearly 13 years ago was the fact that he was a single dad. I had never met and certainly never dated a single dad before, but to see the relationship between father and his 5-year old son was a sign of not just a good man, but one of very high character.
Entering into that relationship may have caused some disruption into their 'man' code way of life, but they invitingly welcomed me into their lives and I quickly became a 'mother' following the parental lead of my future husband, gaining guidance and wisdom along the way.
We say it so often, but life truly does pass by so quickly and though there were so many cherishable moments in the past 13 years in raising my son as my own, I can't help but wish I could have done more, been more, given more.
I felt a bit numb up until yesterday's farewell day. My emotions tend to well inside until a very significant moment opens the spigot to my heart. It wasn't me that led the good-byes. It was my son. Using this opportunity as some sort of grandiose teachable moment, all I could do was to tell him how much I loved him and how proud of him I was for always accepting me into his life.
I told him to set his priorities and goals and make good choices, but above all, find what makes him happy.
And then he did what I never expected. He thanked me for being the only mother he's ever had and told me how proud he was of me for following my heart and pursuing what makes me happy. Just when you think you haven't done quite enough, your kids make it very clear that love and guidance is all they ever really need.
I'm so proud of him. I can't wait for his dirty laundry and his infrequent visits. I look forward to the next chapter in our lives as our bond continues to grow into his adult years.