My Dearest #1,
I’m still not sure how this is even happening. It feels like just yesterday my life was forever changed when you came into this world and made me a mother. Here we are 17 years later and you are beginning your senior year of high school. How is that even possible??
Gone are the days when your pudgy little hand would slip into mine as we walked anywhere. How your face would light up at the sight of me whenever I walked into the room. How one kiss from me could make any boo boo feel instantly better. How you would snuggle with me or have me tuck you in at night. How I was your #1 go-to for everything in your life.
Now, most days I feel like I don’t even know this strange man-child who lives in my house. When I’m reading books to your baby brother and you walk by, I instantly have flashbacks to when you used to sit in my lap and have me read Goodnight Moon 30 times in a row. Or when I’m outside playing baseball with your other brother and I see you inside, I think back to how many hours I spent outside teaching you how to play every sport there is.
This is how it’s supposed to be, though. Kids grow up. You are supposed to become independent. You aren’t supposed to rely on your parents for every little thing in life anymore. That’s what our job is, to teach you to become self-sufficient. To cut the cord. For you to not need us.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard as hell to let go of you. The reality that in a year from now you will be 18, graduated from high school and (fingers crossed) in college, almost knocks the breath out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for your future and for this next phase of life you are moving into. I truly cannot wait to see where your life journey takes you. However, I also feel an enormous amount of sadness. My baby boy, my firstborn, is going to be out of the house, on his own, without me. I have no doubt that you will be perfectly fine taking care of yourself, it’s me that will have a hard time trying to figure out this new phase of parenting. Not being in control of anything in your life. Having to step back and hope with every ounce of my being that everything I taught you and the man I helped shape, will go out into the world and remember all of the values and tools I raised you with. It’s not going to be easy.
This last year living at home, please try to enjoy it. I know your little brothers and your sister drive you crazy, but next year you will miss them, trust me. Please try to be patient and to spend as much time as you can with them. Say yes to the boys when they ask you to play Minecraft or to play outside and acknowledge your sister when she speaks to you. Your three siblings idolize their big brother and are going to miss you more than you will ever know.
I know you get so sick of hearing me lecture you about everything from grades to friends, to how to treat a girl, to being responsible, to making good life choices and nagging you about cleaning your room and doing your chores. Just try to remember that I am panicking. As your mother, I want to make sure I didn’t forget to teach you something or look back on this time wishing I had done things differently. I want to make sure you are ready for life without me. So, please be patient with me too. Hug me, even when you don’t feel like it. Talk to me, even when you don’t feel like it. Spend time with me, even when you don’t feel like it.
I am well aware that at 17 you still have no idea what you want to do for the rest of your life. That all of the pressure and decisions you are being asked to make this year are extremely overwhelming. Take a deep breath–try to savor every second of your last year in high school, try to relax and have faith that you will figure it out.
Just remember that it’s ultimately your choice, your life and know that whatever path you decide to take, I will always love you, encourage you and support you.
I love you the most,