It happened today…a sucker punch to the heart, I felt it this morning and I haven’t been able to shake it all day. The Boy is 17. He’s a Senior in High School. He gets up on his own, gets his breakfast and drives himself to school. He’s been doing this for a while but today, this morning, it registered a blow across the bow of my family ship. He’s leaving soon, too soon and I’m pretty sure I’m not ready. Crap.
Over the past few weeks The Boy and I have stayed up late talking about life. We do this a lot, he’s one of my favorite people to talk to. His insights and dry wit never cease to amaze me. Anyway…lately we’ve been talking about life after High School. For him, that means college. We’ve narrowed down his choices, we’ve researched schools with writing/journalism majors, we’ve talked about needing business school to go along with the creative bent he wants to explore, we’ve made plans. It’s bittersweet to know he’s selected four schools in the great state of Maine. Bittersweet because I really think he’s ready, he’s a well adjusted, smart, funny young man that has his head screwed on right. I trust that we’ve raised him properly, he knows right from wrong…in fact, he has a deep seated need to do the right thing, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. Nothing irritates him more than social injustice. I’d like to think that was good parenting but part of me realizes he was seriously, just born an old soul. Bittersweet because he has zero desire to attend any of the illustrious universities here in North Carolina. Geez, we have world renowned schools here and he just wants to go…spread his introverted wings and go. And isn’t it my job to make sure he can do that? I’m sure he will be fine, I trust that – it’s me I’m worried about. He thinks it’s funny that after all of my years of lamenting the hot summers here in North Carolina, and longing to move to Maine because I prefer cold to hot every day, he’s the one that’s probably going to get there first. He’s a lot like his Mom, he likes cooler temps, Fall and Winter are the best, he loves snow and being alone is not a hardship – good lord he’s so much like me. He looks at pictures of the campuses and says things like – “how cool will it be to sit under that tree and write an article that blows the doors off of our broken political system” or “I think this place will get my creative juices flowing Mom – imagine what I can do there…” seriously, my kid has no idea how much he amazes me. Jesus, if the application process is gutting me, the packing up and leaving part is going to suck huge. I’m so not ready. I know I’m not the first Mom to experience this, my thoughts are not exclusive but that doesn’t comfort me, and it doesn’t make me ready.
So this morning, when he tossed his backpack over his shoulder, shoved a granola bar in his mouth, grabbed his keys and threw me a smiling, “later Mom, love ya” as he headed out all I could think was, I’m not ready, don’t go. Crap – he’s really going to go…in just a few short months he’s going to go out there and do his thing. Selfishly, I am not ready. He’s ready.
In closing, to friends and family that might be reading this, I apologize. I’m going to be a little extra crazy and sentimental for a while. If I’m being honest, I’ll tell you, all of your kind – “Oh, it’ll be alright” will fall on completely deaf ears. I appreciate your kind words but for now, they aren’t going to do a damn thing. I’ll have to catch up with The Boy and get to “ready” my own way – not sure how, there will be tears, hell, there are already tears and it’s just freaking September…but I’ll get there.