Flying Into His Future

Tomorrow, November 3, 2006, at 11:35 p.m. my Oldest One Who Must Remain Unnamed will turn 18.

It is hard for me to believe I have kept track of anything for 18 years, let alone a child, but somehow I have and he is wonderful.

I remember thinking shortly after he was born and I was totally postpartum emotional, that I could not bear to think of letting this precious bundle go in 18 years, that it would break my heart.

I even remember saying "My life will be over. There will be nothing left once he's gone."

Oh. My. God. Was I ever that melodramatic?

Well, I am also the same woman who, upon returning from the hospital with my bundle of unnamed joy, watched E.T for the first time and sobbed because I thought my baby looked just like poor, lost E.T!

Still, I knew I loved this boy way too much to ever cut him loose, yet I knew I would...I knew I must. It is what a good mother does, she gives her child wings and one day watches him soar away.

Tonight he is with his beloved at a Guns N Roses concert. And if he is flying high on anything other than the joy of being 18 and in love I will kick his 18 year old ass...But I digress and he won't, fly high that is, not digress.

This child-rearing stuff...the books, the magazines, the experts, the current studies...they're all crap when it comes to getting down into the trenches and actually raising this baby. Also, despite my best attempts and careful monitoring- he has managed to turn out perfectly fine and wonderful all by himself. He is his own self and I realize I have merely been the inn keeper these past 18 years.

I'm the one who taught him to look both ways before he crossed the street and other useful stuff you need to know to stay alive- but developing into the wonderful man he is, well, he pretty much did that all on his own.

But he will always be my baby.

I suppose tomorrow I will have to call him "a man" or "an adult male," but I won't do this around him. This is the same boy/man who, when he turned five, cried as if his heart would break, all because I said, "You're a big boy now!"

"I don't want to be a big boy!" he sobbed. "I still want to be your little boy!"

I suppose he thought that if he were a Big Boy he'd have to leave home or become someone he wasn't ready to be.

I remember that night holding him while he cried in his red bunk bed in his Mickey Mouse bedroom, rocking him and soothing him. Telling him over and over again..."You will always be my little boy. No matter how old you are, you will always be my little boy."

So tomorrow when he wakes up, bleary-eyed and staggers out of his room grumpy because he has school, I won't call him a man.

And when he heads off to school and calls back over his shoulder, "Love you, Mama!" I won't say it then either.

I will keep this knowledge to myself and leave it unspoken between us because after all, he doesn't need a label to know who and what he is...and I am not sure which one of us would be the one crying over the pronouncement. Because if he is a man, he will soon be leaving to build his own nest and start his own world- a world I can only hope to orbit around now and then, when invited.

I will not rush him into becoming the Big Boy. I will not shove him out of the nest before he is ready to take wing...Only then will I watch him soar away and whisper to myself, "There goes my baby, my big boy...the man I helped learn to fly.


Christina said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into what it's like to mother a man. (though i'm so glad we're not there yet!)

Heather said...

That is beautiful. You have obviously been a wonderful mother and I'm sure you have had more influence on the person he has turned out to be than you know. I don't have children myself yet but I know that one day I will be where you are now and I hope that I can handle it with as much grace as you have.

Kathy said...

Hi! I found you thru AOL journal picks of the week. I enjoyed your entry today! I can totally relate because I have a son born on
Nov. 3, 1973. He's 33 today and it just seems like he was 18. The time does go too fast. He's the father of 3 with another one the way in March. LOL - payback is sweet.

Bea said...

WEll, hello Nancy! I'm from aoljournals, and I discovered your link because Sheria loves your blog, and picked it as one of her guest editor picks today. I can see why she loves your blog. I am charmed already. In fact, I fell in love with Sheria as well. So, I am glad to meet you, and I am going to visit for about ten minutes. I know what you mean about your bundle of joy growing up... mine did too, and he's going to be 28 on the 22nd of this month. Come visit me anytime, my name is Bea and I'm at

Anonymous said...

What a great entry. I too am going through the pain of my growing children.(17 & 16) I'm a SAHM and am really feeling lonely already. Its a struggle, but I said just tonight to them that I am happy for them (but quielty sad for me) Stop by and visit my journal.