Time is a funny thing. Ask me on any given Monday, when my afternoon is dragging, and I'll complain that it moves too slowly. Come Friday, though, it seems I can't remember where the week went, it whizzed by so quickly. Imagine my whiplash this past weekend, as I took my baby to visit his first college campus.
Yes, I say baby, even though I realize he's 15 years old. And taller than me. With a deeper voice and grand plans and lofty goals. And ready….R.E.A.D.Y. to move on from mom, and into HIS life, on his terms. And it's not that I'm not proud; I'm crazy proud of this kid. A bit in awe, if I'm being honest, that he's so damn smart, so focused, so calm about this new horizon unfolding before him. But that doesn't mean I'm ready.
Because when I think of him, even knowing how crazy smart and mature and ready he is, this is more the picture that I see in my head:
I see his chubby little cheeks, his Buddha belly, his bald head and his tiny little fingers and toes. I hear his uncontrollable giggles, his incoherent babbling and his sighs while he slept. I see my baby. My fist baby, the one who made me realize how much I wanted to not just be a mother, but a good mother. One who would not only guide and discipline her children but give them wings to explore the worlds they were drawn to. One who would always provide both a safe place to land and a swift kick when necessary.
But, in reality, this is who he is now:
Not yet a man, no. But well on his way. Taller than me. Smarter than me. More focused. Bright and shiny like I remember being when I toured the Loyola campus for the first time. Enamored with the potential that hasn't yet been tapped, the possibilities that swirl around, the future that is waiting for him.
And my role as mom, as much as it seems to have changed, hasn't really all that much. Sure, he can make himself a sandwich and brush his teeth. But he still needs me (I think) to make sure people don't tell him he can't take this path, can't split off from the crowd, shouldn't reach for the stars. To remind him, even when he doubts himself, that he's crazy smart and capable of great things. To send him cookies and care packages and make his favorite foods when he comes home to visit. At least that's what I'm telling myself, so the thought of him moving away so soon doesn't make me crazy.
And, in all honesty, I'm getting ahead of myself here. The program is fabulous, but competitive. And while I think they'd be crazy to not accept him, there's still that chance. So now we start on the application process. The testing. The essay writing. All him, not me; this is his deal, his goal, his responsibility. But as I watch, and cheer, and guide and pray, I'm remembering that sometimes getting what you wish for isn't as easy as I thought it would be. Letting him go, even though I raised him to go, just might be the hardest part of being a mom yet.