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19 Years

Nineteen years ago, I planned my first unmedicated, beautiful, blissful birth. I envisioned Zen music and deep breathing transforming my labor pains. I imagined my newborn gazing into my eyes, knowing that we’d already been together for all of his life.

But upon arriving at the hospital, after ten weeks of on-again/off-again preterm labor with a footling-breech, I was rushed into an emergency C-section.

That was my first lesson in “Letting Go.”

I used to think that being a good parent required anticipating every possible problem, strategizing to circumvent undesirable scenarios, vigilantly keeping my off-spring in-check.

I thought that parenting was basically being promoted to the position of Vice-God, that my opinions were given extra weight in matters of the Universe, that if only everyone would follow my directions then All Would Be Well.

Nineteen years later, I’ve basically learned that I don’t know jack.

Josh graduated this past spring with accolades and honors. He was accepted to every college he applied to and offered a spectrum of scholarships. But instead of venturing forth from my nest, he declined the offers and elected to attend FCC for the first two years of his four-year-degree.

That was lesson #18,999 in “Letting Go.”

Recently, I started a conversation with him:

ME: “Hey, I want you to know that if I *seem* distant or uninterested in your life, I’m not…it’s just that I’m trying to give you the same space you would’ve had if you’d gone off to the dorm rooms. You’re welcome to initiate a dialogue about whatever is happening in your world, but I’m trying (really hard) to not pry into your life.”

J: “You definitely don’t seem distant, Mom.”

<my heart sank at the thought that my attempts at unobtrusiveness had failed>

J: “But you also aren’t acting like a helicopter.”

He plopped down on the couch across from me.

J: “This feels good, Mom. We’re fine.”

Reassurance.

He noticed my book on the ottoman.

J: “That looks different from what you usually read. Tell me about it?”

Letting go of my child’s path breaks me down. It requires grace and trust and faith…none of which comes with ease (for me).

But witnessing my baby grow into a young man who knows how and when to offer comfort…well, that fills the cracks in my heart.

Happy 19th Birthday, Josh.

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