I'm terrible. The worst. I avoid them whenever possible. I'm that friend that just ghosts out of a party. If someone catches me I'll throw up a wave or awkwardly dole out an obligatory hug and quickly be on my way. So that made yesterday tough.
Yesterday our oldest left the nest. At 19 & a year out of high school we knew this day was inevitable. He's been working, hanging w friends, & he just decided... "I was never really going to end up in Ohio." (Which I understand whole heartedly.)(Not putting down Ohio.. just never expected to live here myself!)
He has lots of family in California and spent almost all of his years there. So it really shouldn't be a surprise. But that didn't make it any easier.
He came to the decision rather quickly & then all of the sudden he's going from talking about packing his car, "you know, next week, maybe." To actually packing it.
He said he feels kinda bummed that his entire life fits into a standard car. I assured him that this is a thrilling stage of life. On the cusp of deciding what & where you want to be. No strings. Very little obligation. Time to carve out the life you want. An adventure. The beginning. He smiled & agreed & asked if he could take the desk.
So let me get to the part where I suck. (It always leads there, amiright?) Before leaving for practice last night (& then bawling to myself all the way there) I brought Aidan in for a hug. I told him he was "a really good kid... Person... Adult... Whatever." I pleaded with him to be safe on the drive and keep us up to date with his progress.... But for Gods sake not to text and drive! I told him to "make good choices & take care of yourself." Then I scurried out the door so he wouldn't see more than a couple of tears.
Here's what I would have done if I was
a normal human being good at goodbyes...
I would have said, "I love you. More than you will even know." I would have told him that I'm proud of him & the man he's becoming. I would have said that he has so many bright things ahead of him and all of the talent and makings of a terrificly full, happy, well-lived life. I would have explained that he will probably make some mistakes along the way but that's just life and it's all about learning & recovering from those. I would have (very motherly) said to not do anything that could drastically change his future. (Ie: drugs. Drinking & driving. Committing a felony.) I would have told him to decide what he wants out of life and to go for it full force. To not waste time. To work hard and stay respectful. I would have said that we are all going to miss him terribly... I can't even state that enough. That he is an important piece of our family and although we want him to move forward & flourish... We will always be missing him & wishing he was here. (& somehow I would have said that part without making him feel bad for leaving.)
I would have said that being a Stepmom is one of the most challenging but rewarding things I've ever done in life... And that I'm honored to have had a part in raising him and shaping him into this dynamic person. He is really incredible & the world is truly at his finger tips....
& I would have told him that instead of running out to bawl. I would have stood there and cried openly in front of him.. Or maybe sobbed into his embrace like the awkward lunatic that I am.
But that's life, right? This whole thing is life. Kids grow up. They leave. They take their own paths & all you can do as a parent is hold on to your partner & ask, "did we do enough?"
& if you're lucky your partner will hug you back and say, without hesitation, "yes. Yes we did."