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How To Move On When Teenagers Become Adults

Me: “What do you mean you’re moving out?
My Son: I’m moving in with my girlfriend this summer as soon as school is done.
Me: You can’t do that! You’re not even 18 yet. You are graduating. 
My Mom: Uh- Jodi you were 18 when you moved out.
Me: Giving the stink eye to my mom. Uh you’re not helping Ma! 

So that’s how the conversation went. My son is moving out. He’s decided. Worse than that, he just turned 18 today. How do you, as a parent, let go of 18 years when a child becomes an adult? Or rather let them be an adult? These are the questions that plagued me today as I sat in his room, thinking about all the things swimming around in my head, while my heart had this funny aching feeling nattering inside of it.

JJ in kindergarten with his principal

From the moment I laid eyes on him, I felt blessed by god. Okay, I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. I prayed for a boy for my first child, and a boy is what I got. A beautiful baby boy with dark black hair that stuck straight up in the most adorable way, deep and soulful grey/blue/green eyes and a smile like a sun. 

Jake has brought me so much joy through the years. In the beginning, raising him as a single mother when I didn’t think I could do it. In fact, he kinda saved me from an abusive relationship with his father of twelve years. I didn’t want him growing up around that shit, so I left and it was him who gave me the courage to do it, to branch out of my own and discover who I was.

Now some parents say oh, my kid was the best because I think we forget. Well, when I tell you that Jake really was a great delight, I’m telling the truth. His younger brother–a different story. Different kid. But with Jake things were easy. He wasn’t really rude to me. He didn’t talk back or say ‘no’ and often came to me during different times to talk about life, girls, love, his friends, wanting advice and what to do. I’m happy to say that even today our relationship is pretty much the same. 

Maybe that’s the problem. 

For 18 years, I have watched my son grow into a special, wonderful, caring and strong young man who is now ready to branch out on his own, and the only thing I can think is “I don’t want to let him to go.” 

My heart weeps for him to stay, and yet I know I cannot force him to do so. He wants to be on his own. Hell,  he’s ready. Moreso than I was at his age. He graduated with honors in Jan, now working full time toward his first-year red seal in carpentry and has been approved for 4 years apprenticeship with the company he’s working for. 

He gets up every day while his friends are at school and goes to work before 7 am. He gets home at 4pm. Filthy dirty and tired, and he tells me all the cool stuff he is learning. In all honesty, I couldn’t be prouder of him. So why can’t I let go and just be supportive instead of a Debbie Downer when he talks about moving? 

Easy. He’s my son and I want him to be little forever.

I know that isn’t gonna happen. I know I can’t keep him in a little box and protect him from everything. Of course, I’ll always be here when he needs me. I just wish this whole part of parenting didn’t suck so bad.

Jake was born on Mother’s Day. He was the best gift I ever received. It’s funny how one small, bundle of joy can change your life forever in such a drastic measure that no words can describe how truly amazing it is. I love him with all my heart. 

As for him moving out. I will have to learn how to do family dinners with him and his girlfriend. Learn to see him when he has time. Learn to talk on the phone instead of up late at night sitting at the side of his bed. I’ll have to learn. Just another adventure in life, right?

In t he meantime. Happy Birthday my boy. I now and will always love you to pieces!

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