My son goes to college down in SW Florida and while Hurricane Irma was looming in the Atlantic, Josh made the decision to come home. I was thrilled beyond measure, knowing that I would have a chance to spend time with him after several months apart but even more importantly, that he would be away from the potential devastation and safe at home.
As a mom, there’s nothing more satisfying than having my children home with me. Although my heart is always full, not having Josh at home leaves me feeling like a part of my heart is missing. When he’s home, I feel complete. I slip right back into mom mode - cooking big dinners, planning fun things to do, pestering him to do his laundry or clean his room. I can’t say that he loves it as much as I do (especially the pestering), but I do know that he loves sleeping in his bed, hanging with his dog and having home cooked meals.
He is going to be 20 years old in a few months, yet, when I look at him, I see the beautiful baby that I brought into this world - a magnificent, innocent soul, with a whole life ahead of him. I sometimes still see the little boy who flooded the house because he was curious to know if he could shower faster than it takes for the bathroom sink to fill with water; or the fearless soccer goalie who was often called Spiderman because of his quick reflexes, resiliency and amazing wing span. When I step back from my nostalgia and accept that 20 years went by faster than I would have liked, my heart swells with pride at the man that he has grown to be. Without question, I raised him right.
I’ll give you an example. Last night my daughter had a field hockey game and she was devastated by her performance. She was in a foul mood and angry with herself and everyone around her. When Josh made the decision to head home today, he called her to say good-bye as she was with her dad last night. I was sitting on the couch nearby and heard the conversation. The advice that he gave he was mature, realistic and inspirational. He shared his feelings, his experiences and his disappointments as it related to soccer in the past - using it as a way to teach her how to cope differently when she’s disappointed. He focused (as he always does) on the positive and tried to teach her that the glass really is half full. Listening to my son impart his wisdom to his younger sister made me cry - tears of joy, tears of pride, mothers tears of gratitude to God that I raised a man who would be so kind and loving to his little sister and to everyone he meets.
He is an outstanding young man in every possible way and I am so proud of him.
As I have shared before, being a mom has been the most fulfilling and amazing part of my life. Sometimes, knowing that he’s all grown up (with my daughter not too far behind him) makes me feel like I am losing my purpose. I’ve dedicated my entire life to raising them. Of course, I’ve worked a full time job and did a lot of volunteer work through the years - but nothing has been more important than my children. They have been the center of my world for as long as I can remember.
When I give it some thought - some really deep introspection - I realize that my purpose hasn’t really changed - just my role. Instead of handling the intricacies of their day to day affairs, I leave it up to them and I help out when they need me. I empower them to be independent and responsible. I teach them how to navigate through life's tricky spots and most importantly, I’m there to listen to them, love them and be there for them in any capacity they want me to be.
It’s 6:15 AM now and he just left to head back to school. No matter how hard I try to contain it, tears run down my face because I know once again that a piece of my heart goes with him. I know that I should be used to this, but I am not. I am not sure I will ever be. I want to run to the kitchen and scarf down some of the banana pudding I made for him the other day, but I’m not going to. I don’t need it - and I know that it won’t make me feel better.
What does make me feel better, though, is knowing that he’s growing into the man I always dreamed he would be, and I look forward to seeing where life takes him, hoping of course, that time slows down just a bit. He has many excited adventures ahead of him and I am so excited by the opportunities he will face as he continues to mature. No matter where goes, or what he accomplishes, I’ll always be here for him.
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