My oldest child turned 19 today. Crazy. Officially an adult.
As I slathered extra moisturizing cream on my face this morning, I allowed myself to drift back.
He was in kindergarten, around this time of year. I went to his classroom for a parent/teacher interview. As we toured the class, I noticed an ‘art’ project displayed on the bulletin board. Carefully placed cotton swabs, arranged on black construction paper in the shape of a skeleton. Of course my parental eyes quickly scanned the board for my little Picasso’s piece.
I found it.
What. The. Hell?
Unlike his classmate’s, his looked like someone had eaten Q-tips and then barfed them up on the page. It didn’t really make any sense. I knew how much he loved to do projects like this, he had been building tough puzzles from toddler-hood.
Quickly, I sought out his teacher and quietly questioned whether he had said anything to her about it. She brushed me off with a “he just doesn’t like following instructions.” How shall I say it, hmmm? She wasn’t one of the stars of the educational team at this school. Anyhooo…don’t have time for that rant today!
We cuddled on the couch that night, he was reading a story to me, I rudely interrupted. “Bud, I liked looking at your work at school today, but I’m kinda wondering what happened to your skeleton…”
He flew off the couch, skinny arms flailing and his eyes saucer big “MOM! It was so COOL! We were learning about X-ways and we got to see the pictures from a machine that takes pictures of the bones INSIDE your body…and then…and then…we made a picture of the bones! I was thinking that if my guy had to have an X-way he pwobably had something happen…so…so…I pwetended that he got HIT by a HUGE semi twuck on the highway…and all his bones got bwoken up…and the ambulance wushed him to the hospital for the doctors to put him back together!”
Yeah. I know, brilliant…right?
Now I stare at the 6’2″ frame piling boxes up in the garage as he prepares to move out, adorable lisp long since gone. What advice can I possibly share with someone who’s always challenged me? Someone, who thought so far outside of the box…I simply couldn’t keep up.
I won’t tell him that he needs to hurry up and get back to school. After years of trying to show him that he just needed to ‘get through’ his formal education…I’m done. I realize now he has time to really carve out what he wants to be. Success is no longer measured in external tangibles. I genuinely want him to find a path that he feels comfortable in. Take his time, make some mistakes and have some fun along the way. There’s no rush.
I’m not going to tell him that if he falls, I’ll catch him. Momma has to step back. The amazing thing is though, I won’t need to. He’s a strong, smart individual who has the ability to get himself in and out of trouble all on his own.
I can’t say just follow the rules and everything will be fine. As I read the news and look around at what is happening with our country, I’m not sure the rule-followers are the people we want to side with anymore. Maybe people like my son, who don’t blindly follow, but instead ask why? Ask how? Ask who? Maybe they are the people we should be listening to.
Theo, you have been a challenge to parent, in the very best way. You aren’t happy with the status quo, and that means your life won’t always be easy, but it will be interesting! Behind my frustration, there has always been a fierce admiration for the individual you are inside. I can’t help but be crazy proud of the man you’ve grown into. Creative, intelligent and forever open-minded.
Although you don’t know exactly what you want to “be” right now, who cares!?
Just “be” you, that will always be enough.
Love you much, thanks for keeping me on my toes.
ps.can you sharpen my knives please before you go? 😉
“You are my sonshine.” ~ Author Unknown