Letting go

My son just had a birthday.
Seventeen years old. Almost a grown man. Six foot five and handsome. He has a girlfriend now. They’re serious for a couple that have been together for only six months and it’s almost sickening yet cute at the same time how they coo and ahh at each other, calling one another sweet heart and baby.
What a minute! Baby? I growl softly deep inside, feeling my stomach twist and turn and realize, ‘Argh…I have to let go’.
It’s just not fair! I mean, for seventeen years he’s been my baby (never mind the eye rolls he gives me when I say that) and before that for nine months I carried him. I fed him, cuddled him, cleaned up after him and kissed his boo boos when he was hurt and this is how he repays me? Gets a girlfriend and spends all his time with her? Transfers all the adoration he felt toward me to another?
Let go.
I remember the first time I held him, looked into his perfect face and brushed my fingers through his dark curls. The way his eyes searched for me and the smile that curled his toothless mouth when he discovered me watching him in turn. The trust and love, knowing I’ll always be there no matter what. My heart fair swelled to bursting. This was my child, my son.
Let go.
As a toddler he followed me everywhere, always inquisitive and questioning. He loved everything about life; running, playing, eating, experiencing . I remember so clearly being at a fruit stand and glancing over to see a small hand reach up into a bin before snatching something only to replace it a moment later. When I went to investigate I discovered a row full of fruit bins, each filled with different delicacies, and each with one fruit that had a toddler sized bite taken out of it.
Let go.
I cried the first time he went away to camp. My husband would sigh and shake his head before patting me on the head. “He’ll be back.” “Yes I know.” Soon school came and I could feel him pulling away. Friends, activities, life in general. But he always came back, always with a smile and a hug. “I love you, mom.”
Let go.
I tried to teach him right as he grew; how to respect a woman, to treat her as a lady. To honor his elders, love his family and the Lord. He created his own set of personal morals and follows them rigidly. He is growing into a man, a man I helped shaped and one any mother can be proud of. Any parent. In order to be that man he needs to be, he has to do it on his own and that means stepping back.
As hard as it is, I’m letting go.
(dedicated to mothers everywhere)

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