I catch myself observing my son quite frequently these days - when he's speaking to his grandfather, his friends, my mom, and I ask myself - how is he so grown up, where have the years gone. Afraid that I'll forget, I want to take everything in, the curls he has in his hair, the mole on his upper lip, the snarky comments, the quick wit, the ability to crack me up with his humour, his smart-mouth, and the most beautiful smile I've ever seen on a human.
This boy has been my life and the love of my life for the past 16 years and forever he will be. I wouldn't trade a single second of all these years for anything else - the ups, the downs, the in-betweens.
Knowing that he'll be leaving home in a couple of years, quite literally scares the shit out of me! Scared that I'm too late, scared that I haven't done enough - enough quality time, enough meaningful conversations, enough adventures, enough hugs, enough laughter, enough stories, enough 'I love you's', enough sharing, enough fun times, enough advice, enough silliness. How do you know if you've done enough with your kid?
I have this one child, one shot at getting things right.
Searching through blurred memories for he was younger, of sweet little kisses, funny moments, the endless questions, there are also pain, frustration and heartache - for the both of us. But as time passes, those hard difficult moments soften around the edges. I search my heart and scour my memories for what I could've done more of, or differently. All that we have gone through together has brought me to this moment where I'm looking at this boy who makes me proud of him every single day - don't get me wrong - he can quite obnoxious, annoyingly opinionated and he has pushed buttons I didn't know I had. But that's just him being him and I would not want him to be anything less.
We've taught each other so much, individually we grew together and sometimes I wonder what I did, under the circumstances that I did, to be given the gift of being his mother, it turned my life around, my son changed my life, changed me. We went threw these years together, both newbies, discovering each other as we went along and we still are. I read a lot of books about babies and toddlers when he was young, I was afraid and I didn't know what I was doing (...I still don't, quick frankly) but I was still not prepared and chose to learn how to, my own way based on who he was and who the person he was developing into and what he needed. There were a lot of firsts not only for him, but for me too.
He helped me find the strength in me I didn't think I had and face my fears that I never thought I would. The one thing that surprised me the most is I never knew I could find it in my heart to love someone so fiercely and wholeheartedly, so all-consuming – those words don’t even begin to describe my feelings, really – there are no words!
He's off to college in a few years and I feel the truth creeping up on me, bit by bit. Being a single mom, I'm not sure I'm prepared to be alone, on my own. I used to think it'll be so nice for when he's off to college allowing me to do what I want whenever I want. I was excited about it - a new chapter in both our lives but knowing the fact that time is closing in, this no longer appeals to me.
You hear people say that 'time will fly by, make the most of it', 'the days are long but the years are short', 'they grow up so fast' but it doesn't hit you until you start looking back 16 years. I don't think anyone tells you that the hardest part of being a mom is when your kid grows up and has to leave you so that he can go live the life that he is meant to live and take the world by storm.
Not a child and not quite an adult, I jump at every opportunity where I am needed to get things done for him. It gives me a sense of still being needed because not far long from now, we won't need me anymore to do the mundane stuff for him.
For quite a part of his years, I was his universe. For half my life and the whole of his, it has only been the two of us under the same roof - soon it'll just be me. But this shouldn't be about me being left behind, it should be about him spreading his wings and experiencing life as he has only heard of and I truly am excited for him.
My heart jumps into my throat these days just thinking of the moment when he does. I dread the day for when I stand in his empty room and all that's left is memories of what has been.
Have I done enough? Quite honestly I'm not sure but looking at the person he has become, I think we're okay. What I do know for certain is that we've had an absolutely amazing 16 years and that we'll have many more remarkable years to come. The time of just the two of us, living under the same roof, will soon come to an end and we celebrate the next phase of our lives and the subsequent phases after that.
I might not be able to go back in time and do it all over again but I most definitely am enjoying the present and I look forward to the future, for the both of us.