Yesterday Ben turned 18. And as he is so fond of reminding me, he is now considered an adult in many ways. He has been teasing me for weeks of all the things he can do when he turns 18....none of them good in my opinion! He can now buy tobacco, lottery tickets, get a tattoo, get piercings, rent porn and my favorite....buy a gun! Yicks....a mother's worst nightmare!
Teasing aside, I have seriously seen him mature and grow more responsible this year as he (and I) prepare for him to leave home in the fall. I was prepared to feel some sadness yesterday. Afterall, it's not easy watching your children grow up and realizing they will never be little again. I heard once that being a mother is like living with your heart outside your body for the rest of your life. An apt description I think.
What I wasn't prepared for yesterday was how proud I felt when looking at him. I remember on his first day of preschool the director, Mrs. Lennon, telling us how this was the first step of giving our children wings. The first letting go. And I remember sitting in that room and thinking "will I ever be ready to really let go?" And the answer is, not really. He may be 18 but he'll always be my child. I'm learning to step aside and let him make his own decisions and his own mistakes but I'll always be here to catch him if he falls. That's just what moms do.
Happy Birthday Ben. I love you with all my heart.
"Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, and wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them" - Jonas Salk