Forgive me while I get purge some my motherly and auntly (?) angst.
This weekend my oldest nephew graduates from high school and it’s stressing me out a little. Can you imagine what my sister is going through?
He was the first little guy to enter our family. The tiny guy in the converse high tops at our wedding. The one who wasn’t actually old enough to walk in them but he sure was cute.
The little one who rode on SG’s shoulders as we walked through Central Park when they came to visit. The little guy in the batman costume in the picture outside the Today show on Halloween. The sweet 3 yr old who sat on my enormously pregnant belly in the hammock chair.
When D1 kicked him, he jumped then put his fat little hands on my cheeks, stuck his face in mine and said “How’d that baby get in there? Did you eat it with your big teeth?” He was my little friend and is my god child.
That kiddo is graduating this weekend and in July, he’s leaving. To become a Marine.
We have never been a military family. It is not a follow in his dad’s footsteps kind of deal. It is a “make his own path” kind of thing. Which is a good I guess. The last couple years have been a struggle and he’s made some mistakes but he’s always been a good, kind, thoughtful person. Someone you knew would eventually find his way.
This is the right choice for him no matter how much it scares the bejesus out of the rest of us. And it does.
It makes all of us think. And worry. My poor sister!
It makes my kids think too. About their futures and growing up.
On the way to the store with D1 to look for a dress for 8th grade promotion, she looked over at me and said: “Wow mom, it’s weird to think I only have probably 4 more birthdays at home.”
Wait what????? Take that back or I’m going to pull over and make you walk home!
I asked her where she’s going and she said: “I’m going to college someplace warm.”
I had only 3 words for that – full ride scholarship. Actually my heart was in my throat and panic started to set in but I guess at least she didn’t say the Marines.
But that’s not the point.
The point is, they leave us. My baby who once sat on my lap and told me she’d live with me forever is already planning her escape. She’s looking towards a future that doesn’t involve waking up with me. Towards one where home is a place she visits instead of lives.
I know that’s how our lives work and I’m glad to be a part of hers, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I know I will continue to be here to watch it unfold. To help guide her when she needs it and to figure out when I should step back and let her figure it out on her own. To let her make her own mistakes but be there to help her back on her feet if she needs it.
This is not an easy process.
For now, I guess I’ll just hang on to every moment. I’ll keep track of both my nephew and my daughter. When I start to worry about either of them, I’ll get out the picture of that little batman on the bench with his arm around the tiny red m&m in the stroller next to him and I’ll remember how it was before they left.
(And I’ll start trying to convince my other 2 how nice it would be to go to college HERE!)