About a boy…

By Becky Andrews

“I’ll never be one of those moms.” I said that when my firstborn was six years old. At the time, my nephew was a senior in high school and my sister was distraught over his impending graduation. My big sister Laura is my hero, my touchstone, my person. But when she was going through this “thing” with her oldest, I wasn’t as supportive as I should have been. The truth is I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He’s going to college. He’s got a scholarship, good friends, good grades… what’s the big deal?

Yet here I am 11 years later with my oldest and… I’M. A. WRECK. Since day one of his last year of high school, I walk around like Bill Murray’s character Bob Wiley in “What about Bob?” “I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.”

Jacob: “Which senior picture do you like the most?”

Me: “I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.”

Jacob: “We only have 98 school days left in this school year!”

Me: “I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.”

Jacob: “Today was the first practice for my last year of track! That’s insane.”

Me: “I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.”

I thought Jacob would always give me a “one more minute” hug. I thought he would always talk to me about everything. Of course, our conversations would change. He would talk to me about school, dating, girls instead of his Yu-Gi-Oh card collection. But still, we would talk.

During my nephew’s senior year in high school, my sister would give me weekly, sometimes daily updates on how things were going.

“Evan’s senior pictures came in. I cried all day.”

“We got his dorm assignment today. I locked myself in the bathroom with a sleeve of Oreos and People magazine.”

I couldn’t imagine ever being so upset about my kids starting college. I would miss them yes, but I was under that illusion all parents are under when their kids are small. My kids would always be my biggest fan. They would always love spending time with me for no reason… not because they wanted a new Patagonia jacket or the latest installment of Call of Duty. I know. I am a total moron.

I was also positive I would never in a million years say things like, “Time, slow down,” while watching my boys prepare for college. I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.

Since day one of his senior year, I’ve had this weight on my chest. It feels like I’m out of breath. Like I’m on a tight deadline. Like I’m forgetting something. I thought when he wasn’t working, or in school or at cross country practice, he would WANT to spend time at home with his parents and little brother. I mean, I never wanted to be home with my parents when I was a senior, but we’re different than our parents. We’re cool. We understand what it’s like to be a teenager (in the 90’s!)

I find myself metaphorically pulling him back to me while he struggles to break free. He’s racing to the next party, club meeting, study group, or date while I sit on the sidelines screaming, “You need a jacket. Don’t text and drive. I love you. I said, ‘I LOVE YOU.’”

So, last week we prepared for his senior banquet for cross country. I thought I would pass out. While everyone else was “oohing” and “ahhing” at photo displays showcasing the last four seasons, I was silently screaming, “What’s wrong with you people?! Don’t you know this is their senior year? Instead of oohing and ahhing, we need to huddle together and cry because right now that’s the only thing I’m positive I could do without causing a scene.”

On the way home, I cried. I cried again when I got home. I cried when I woke up the next morning. If I’m being totally honest, I’m crying right now. I have no control over this. I don’t know the proper etiquette for navigating this new road. I don’t want time to stop. I don’t really want it to slow down. The logical part of my brain knows that’s simply not possible so why even say it. I want time to matter. I want time to understand what I’m feeling and make me feel better. But time doesn’t do that. However, I am more aware of time now. Maybe time’s only job is to make us aware that it doesn’t stop for anything. So, you better enjoy every second of it now.

He’s my oldest. He doesn’t want to spend every waking moment with me. I suppose it would be odd if he did. But instead of worrying so much about the fact that THERE ARE LESS THAN 100 DAYS LEFT IN THE SCHOOL YEAR, I’ll try to enjoy the parts of his life, he doesn’t mind his old mama being a part of.

 

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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