When you’re in the thick of motherhood, deep in the weeds, you’re convinced that the
devil’s spawn beloved child in front of you will never sleep or potty train or eat consistently. You fantasized about being an empty nester when you were only a few weeks into the whole parenting thing. There were times when you were positive you were going to rip the head off the next well-meaning grandma-lady who beseeched you to love on those kids “because they grow up so fast,” right as they were gnawing your last nerve to a bloody nub. You knew the years were short but the days were so endlessly long and you most certainly knew there was no way in hell you were ever going to look back at those days wistfully.
And then, in the blink of an eye…
You have an adult son.
He sleeps, ohhhh how he sleeps. He uses the bathroom and puts the toilet seats down. He has become an adventurous and voracious eater, despite the food sensitivities that make it more challenging. You no longer fantasize about being an empty nester because you’ve pretty much accepted that some kids take longer to launch and that’s okay. You know better than to ever beseech another mama to love on her kids “because they grow up so fast,” because you value your life and have definitely had more sleep than she has. And you sure as hell don’t look back on those hellacious years wistfully, despite how fast the years whipped by.
Our oldest son, the out of the box, move to the beat of his own drummer, complex as all hell son…our son is 18 today. He is a much different man than the infant/toddler/preschooler/kiddo of previous years suggested he’d be. Tom and I look at each other often, whispering the words “if we’d ever doubted the (expensive) interventions we did when he was younger…”
Last month we celebrated his Eagle Scout Court of Honor, something we were not 100% certain would happen, even as he was in the thick of the process. Yesterday he took first place in IT network services at Skills USA Illinois, and will be going to Nationals for the second year in a row. We refused to give into his desire to quit last fall (and winter…and and and) when he had to deal with bureaucratic bullshit and frustration that tested his coping skills. He has a paid internship this summer, doing what he loves, and will start some college classes at the same time. He’s found his path, he’s determined his pace, and he’s on his way.
This is not the parenting finish line, it is merely a watering station in this marathon. We have another teen son on his own path, blazing his own way, and because life is just this way, his path is much different than his brother’s.
But today I sit and remember the colicky baby, the perpetual motion machine that was toddlerhood, the incessantly curious preschooler, the increasingly bored and frustrated schoolboy, the thriving homeschooler, and the gallons of tears and wine that got us to today. I do not wistfully wish for those days past, for they were difficult past comprehension. Those days molded us to today.
Today we have an adult son.