I stand in his room folding shirts and pants to put in his suitcase. We separate things to take to college and things to keep at home and things to go to Goodwill. I take a break and sit down to sip some tea, and my eyes gravitate to the frames on the wall. His first professional photo at 6 months. What a gorgeous, happy baby. My friend, Leslie, went with me to help me with the ordeal. For some reason, I didn't think I could do it all by myself. Right before they called his name, he banged his rattle on his head and a red mark immediately popped up. Below the photo is his birth announcement. We wanted to be creative, original with the announcement while spending very little money. So our friend helped us print them on the computer. We loved movies, so we used a "Movie" theme. I remember calling our friend and weeping while telling him the birth length and weight. I was suffering post-partem depression.
I glance over to my son, who now towers over me, but who still has those beautiful soulful eyes. My throat constricts with love. My mind races with questions like, "Have I taught him everything?" "Have I really done the best I can do?" "Will he be safe?" "Will he make good choices?" "Will he miss me?" "Will he be happy?" "Is this forever?" He looks at me and knows instinctively what is going on inside my brain, so he makes a joke and we continue working.
The pile of stuff grows to pack into the van and the time keeps ticking. Tonight we take him to eat, a special dinner. Allie and I are thinking, "Olive Garden" or "Cheesecake Factory", but no, my boy chooses "Torrero's". It is a simple Mexican food restaurant he loves. It is like him, simple, no drama. We will celebrate all he has meant to us and all he has accomplished. We will laugh and I will secretly grieve. Well, hopefully, secretly!
Then tomorrow, we will take our first-born and deposit him out of the nest into the rest of his life. He will begin living a life that I will not really know much about.
So every time he passes me, I hug him. Every time we talk, I tell him how much I love him. Every time I think of him, I cry.
I have done good. I have raised a sweet, smart, caring, sensitive young man. Someone I enjoy talking to, and being around. And now it is time for others to encounter him and for him to explore this great big world on his own. So, I let go. I look forward to seeing where his adventure takes him. I will laugh and applaud when the highs come, and love him when the lows come.