This week my son Christopher officially became an adult in the eyes of the law. Eighteen. Responsible. Able to vote. Eighteen years have passed in the blink of an eye – a very emotional eye! 0 to 18. It’s been a heartbeat, the space of a breath. That’s how fast it’s gone.
Of course, he’s still acting like a teenager. He hasn’t figured out the location of the cooker and the washing machine yet…I live in hope. His music is up full blast. He is in another world most of the time (and to think I worried all these years about Mowgli being in a world of his won!) and is still staying up far too late doing homework because he was watching movies, catching up on social media or fell asleep. There will be days I will have to remind myself that, yes, I am the parent of an adult!
Still, I’m feeling it. I watched a young mother today collecting her son from nursery. His cute red lunch bag was all lopsided on his back as he ran towards her. He was talking ten to the dozen as his Mum reached out to give him a big hug! The little boy’s neck was stretched upwards seeking her attention. She lowered her body to answer him. Off they went, holding hands, walking slow, sharing conversation. It was just an ordinary scene on an ordinary day but it reminded me of a time I was doing just that, taking my boy home from nursery. It feels like it happened last week and all the other moments that are so vivid in my mind; bringing him home from the hospital, helping him take his first steps, covering him with sticking plasters and kisses to make everything better, reading him bedtime stories, taking him to school for the first time while I bawled my eyes out. I better stop before I start bawling now. There are so many ‘first’ memories, so many special times, and so many ordinary times to remember, like collecting him from nursery.
Soon, he will be heading out into the world on his own, an inevitability that tugs on my heart because I know with the passing of time he will have his own memories, memories that will not include me and adventures that will lead him away from home. His whole future is ahead of him, college, work, girls, not necessary in that order, and it now lies in his own hands.
There’s a whole new world available to me, too, like dealing with a brand new baby adult (and the girl that will steal his heart.) He wants to make all the decisions about his life, though Mr Independent has being doing that for quite a while now… sixteen years in fact! He wants to run free in the wind and have no strings holding him down. I blame my love for travel. He has spent too much time pouring over my travel albums but at least I don’t have to worry about that girl just yet!
Speaking of travel, he has made the journey of motherhood a walk in the park. I could not have asked for a better son. He’s a wonderfully loving, caring, thoughtful, generous, smart and funny young man. There is a spiritual theory that before children are born they pick their parents. If that is the case, I’m so blessed that Christopher picked me. So to my big (almost) all grown up son, a very happy 18th birthday and thank you for making ordinary days, extraordinary just by being in them.