My son stands at the kitchen faucet drinking out of it although I’ve told him to stop at least one-thousand times since this habit started. I almost tripped on his humongous sneakers today and his socks are lying on the floor.
I don’t say anything to him about it, but it’s not because I don’t have the energy which is usually the case lately. It’s because I know these days are closing in on me; the days when we will share walls and he’ll come home every night.
Having dinner with him will go from being a given, to being a special occasion.
Hearing my son in the shower every morning will be a thing of the past
Waking up in the morning knowing he’s in his room and I’ll soon hear him close the bathroom too loud and stay in there for too long will be a thing of the past.
Forcing him to go out to lunch with me every Saturday so we can bond for a half hour will be something we used to do. The grocery bill will shrink and along with the laundry pile.
And he won’t be there falling asleep with me in the living room on a Sunday afternoon or bringing me a Diet Coke from work. I won’t be able to say, “We’ll talk more when you get home from school,” or see his car pulling into the driveway every afternoon.
When he turned 9, his uncle came over bearing a birthday gift with a side of reminding me that his time with me was half over. Half over. It was devastating to think of it that way, but it was also far enough away that I was able to tuck those sad emotions back into the depths of my soul and compartmentalize them for a later date.
“We still have so much time. I’m not going to think about that.”
Every year on his birthday, I’ve thought about the time he has left at home
And since then, every time he turned a year older, I’ve thought about his 9th birthday. I thought about it on his last day of elementary school. I thought about it on his first day of high school. I thought about it when he got his driver’s license, and when he got his first job.
Now, it’s later. He is months away from being a senior in high school and our time is running low. I don’t have the privilege of tucking that fact away any longer. I don’t get to tell myself I can think about it later. It’s right in front of my face and feels like it’s pressing down on us in an all-encompassing way.
Every time I think about the fact his holidays and birthdays spent at home are whittling down, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth I can’t wash down no matter what I tell myself.
The thing is, he may still come home for all of those events. He may even make time for the occasional Saturday lunch. But it won’t feel the same as having my son living under my roof.
When he goes, I want to be prepared. Not just for his sake but for mine. He’s my oldest and it’s going to sting.
I will miss the shoes. I will miss the socks on the floor. I will miss the damn drinking out of the faucet even though it’s the bane of my existence right now.
All those things he does, annoying or not, mean my son is here. And when those things are gone, it mean he too is gone, floating around in the real world and a big part of my job will be gone.
I’m not ready. I’m not ready now and I don’t think I’ll be ready when it happens no matter how much I try to prepare myself. I know I’m not handling this well. I’m already so tense about it, it’s taking away from the time he has left.
Stay in the moment
It’s not easy to stay in the moment and enjoy something when the back of your brain keeps reminding you that this is almost over. And while I know I’ll see him, I’ll always be his mom, I’ll always have a part in his life, when he walks out the door after high school graduation things will be different.
It is a change he’s ready for, but I won’t be and I’ll just have to hope that the unfamiliar won’t hurt too much.
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