Letting go as your kids grow up is a gut wrenching time for many parents and children. For me it has been an extremely difficult struggle. My oldest is turning sixteen this year, and many changes have occurred over the past several years that have changed the dynamic of our relationship.
“From the moment he was born, I fell in love with my son. I wanted a boy so badly, I prayed for it every day. I know it’s strange, most moms want their child healthy boy or girl, and of course I did, but I really wanted a son. And when JJ was born, I couldn’t have been happier.”
Being a single mom for many years, after leaving an abusive life behind us, we traveled the road of life — together. Us against the world. He was my little man, always making me laugh, cry, and enjoy the beauty the world had to offer not just around me, but within myself. He taught me to love myself, love other people more openly, forgive and find strength in the things we cannot control, but can learn from.
In his younger years, after I married, JJ struggled with finding himself. He struggled with the pain of why his father left and treated him the way he did. He felt a hole in his heart, but I continued loving him, and our relationship grew stronger with each year passing. We’d spend hours talking about life, love, friendship, school, and how to deal with things that he found hard. He always talked to me — about everything.
“There comes a moment in your life as a parent when another parent turns to you and tells you how amazingly incredible your child is when they are around them, how intelligent, bright, funny, charming and respectful they can be. It’s the biggest compliment any parent can get.”
When my son began grade nine, he met a girl. He was already on his way to becoming one of the respected individuals I had ever known. Captain of his hockey team, coaching other kids, getting good grades, making honor roll, surrounded by friends who loved him. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone saw him for the amazing person he is. I just didn’t think it would hurt so much, letting him go.
“I watch him take her in his arms, sing to her in the kitchen while he dances to no music, laughing with love in his eyes for this young woman, looking at her the way his father looks at me and I can’t help but smile inside. His heart is so full!”
JJ is now going on almost two years with his girlfriend. It’s a serious relationship in every way. He loves K and wants to marry her. He gave up hockey because he decided his destiny changed. He told me he wanted to be a hands on father, husband, there for his children in the way his father never could be. How could I argue with that.
Going into grade eleven my son has decided he wants a career in carpentry. He loves working with his hands. He plays football. He’s grown so much. Now at almost six feet, 200lbs and built like a brick shit house. He’s so good-looking, ruggedly handsome in ways he doesn’t even realize, with a heart that is so open, a character so loving and morals and values that are so strong. I can only feel proud.
“I sit sometimes and stare at his empty room, blankets strewn on the bed, clothes folded, washed and not worn because he’s been gone for a few days at his girlfriend’s house. He calls me, texts from school, does his homework, goes to class every day, still making honor roll and just living his life to fullest. And I miss him so much!”
I broke down crying yesterday, and JJ hugged me. He asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t put it into words, everything I felt. How could I explain to him that I knew from the moment he was born he didn’t belong to me. I was his keeper, his guardian, his friend, his mother, his guide. But that I knew one day he’d be gone, and my heart just sank.
It’s hard loving your kids and then having to let them go off and do their own thing. You constantly worry. I’m so lucky to be JJ’s mother. I feel blessed God chose me to witness the birth and life of this amazing individual. He’s one of the most incredible human beings I’ve ever known. I will always feel grateful I was able to be a part of his life, and I look forward to each and every day I get to witness where that life takes him.
Sometimes, though… In the wee hours of the morning. I miss my baby. I miss him needing me. I miss him crying on my shoulder. I miss kissing the boo-boo’s away. I miss the chats and talks we used to have – less frequent now. But I’m glad he has found a life worth living.