Friday, June 22, 2012

Letting Go and Growing Up

I saw his picture, this little stranger that would become my child.  Big brown eyes, a cautious smile.  "Observant" said the description, and "wants a mom that will give him popsicles" it continued.  "Greg feels deeply and watches closely.  He is sensitive and internalizes  his emotions."   He had endured more in his four short years than any child, any person, ever, should.   "My son?", I thought.  "I don't know you at all" but I loved him. 

I met this scared little boy.  Terrified and grief stricken.  His world, all he knew had imploded and was gone.  And then he was mine.  I rocked him that first night for hours.  I cried with him at the loss and pain and horror he was experiencing that made him my son and made me his mother.  

But become my son he did.  And we became a family.  Through tears and laughter, hugs, play, learning and endless hours of rocking we simply became.  Doing things very right, and doing things very wrong.  And I promised that little boy I would never, ever let him go.  That I was his mommy forever and ever and nothing would ever change that.  I promised him a thousand times when he told me he was scared he would lose us too.  When he told me he wasn't sure he wanted to be mine.  When he told me he worried that someone might take him away.   "Forever, and ever, and ever" I said.  "I will be your mommy forever."     

And then we were six.  Oh how I worried that my serious, sensitive son would feel replaced by a new baby. Instead, Greg claimed his little brother.  "He is mine from the very beginning Mommy" said Greg  "I've never had anyone from the very beginning".   

Oh the good years.  The endless memories.  The laughter. The trips.  The times with home schooling or the times at hockey.  I cannot find the words this morning to encompass those endless days that today feel like they passed in a blink of time.  But they were good.  So good.  And I thought they would last forever.

Those years now, feel like they were filled with endless fun.  I am sure there were hard times, but from the distance of time and perspective, they are ingrained in my mind and heart as simply good. 

I didn't realize it then, but a reality of motherhood is that kids grow up.  And my son did too.  He found his passion.  It consumed his life, and in turn my own. 

 The teen years were not always easy.  I fought for my son harder than I have ever fought for anything in my entire life.  The hard times were very, very hard . The good times were hard to see.   But still over and over again, that scared little boy needed to hear that through hell and back, I would be his mommy forever.  Nothing.  No one.  No mistake, no choice, no attitude, no bad day would ever change the depth and the quantity and the foreverness of my love for him.  Ever.  

And we won.  Through anger and grief and identity seeking and many tears. We won.  Our beautiful son came out the other side of those years with maturity and wisdom and peace and gentleness and a smile. 

Today I do the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  I say good-bye.  My baby, my scared little boy, my rambunctious tween, my obsessed hockey player, my rebellious teen, this beautiful brown eyed child I love with my entire heart -- my son --  is becoming a man.  He has a job, and a car, and a wonderful place to go.  It is an adventure.  It is right.  It is good.   But it is away.   I know he will be back, many months down the road, but these years of my six children under my roof, and within arms reach, are over.

I promised to be his mommy forever but I forget to make him promise to stay my little boy.  And so I have this man-son.  He is exactly what I would want my man-son to be.  He is kind and funny.  He loves deeply and laughs even deeper.  He is passionate and silly.  Responsible and wise, argumentative and silent.  He still observes and sometimes you have to dig pretty deep to find what he is feeling.  He knows that God has His hand on his life in a way that is sometimes scary and sometimes baffling.   And he is mine.  But starting today I have to share him just a little bit more than I want to with the world.

His story is not over.  In fact, really, it is just beginning.  But the chapters of his life that include the time that I got to be His Mommy will be some of the best of my life.  And I am so thankful that I got to be the mommy that proved to this young man that sometimes, really, you are loved forever and for always, no matter what.  I scoffed, many years ago, at a book that made me laugh at the mother that could not and would not let go, but today there is a big part of me that thinks that standing on the street corner screaming as the silver car holding my son pulls away to head down the highway, "I love YOU FOREVER!  I like you for ALWAYS!  As long as I am living, MY BABY YOU WILL BE!", is probably a really, really good idea. 

Greg, I love you.  More than you can fathom.  I am proud, so very proud.  And today, you leave with a piece of my heart.  Forever and always.  All our yesterdays, today and all your tomorrows we are here for you. God be with you my son


Tudu said...

Damn, I'm crying my eyes out. I have watched my kids come and go to RTC but to watch them mature and leave appropriately is a gift I fear I will not get. You are such an amazing mom and I'm filled with emotions for you.

Fatcat said...

I was just wondering how you all were doing this morning and you posted!

And then you made me cry.

My man-son is 19, has a job and may be going out of state to college in a few short weeks.

Andy said...

and now I'm bawling at work! Way to go Jen ;)

You are such an inspiration, thank you. And have some extra hugs as you move on to this new chapter.

HollyMarie said...

Okay,pretty much sobbing here. Greg, wishing you much success, love, grace and goodness in these great years of independent adventures!

Jen, maybe it'll get easier with the next one? YEah, RIGHT.

Beyond Normal Mom said...

beautifully written

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to this new family milestone for you, Greg and your family! Awww! Yay! I'm wanting to cry and cheer at the same time!


Jenny said...

My oldest is 5 and has many of the insecurities your Greg did growing up. And now I'm bawling my eyes out because I don't want him to leave. It was just yesterday when in all his 5 year old glory, he asked me "Mom, when I'm a grown up and have my own house...can I please take my cowboy sheets with me?"

Cassie said...

I can only imagine what you're going through but just reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Ironically just today I was looking at this from the other side: as a grown child turning to her parents for advice and emotional support for a decision that will take me further from them physically. prospect is harder for me than I ever would have imagined and yet I know the opportunity is good and right even if it means some distance from my family. Through God's grace we'll end up as we belong! xx

Amanda said...

I'm definitely choked up. Hugs to you as you transition through this new milestone.

Anonymous said...

i've been here 3 times. twice with daughters, once with a son. it truly is "letting go and letting God" in action. one thing i can promise you--your role changes, evolves into something else, something more, but you are always mom. it's just that now you also get to become their friend too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I am a new foster/adopt mom of 2 energetic boys. Lately I find myself watching them and wondering how they are going to turn out. Wondering if we will be able to get past the damage that was done to them. So glad to hear a positive story like this one. A success story is a beautiful story.

Sabrina Sabino said...

Love it. Got me all teary-eyed. I'm doing a lot of reading on adoption, something I might consider. This is a great story, and it's wonderful that things have worked out so well.

JenniferS said...

i have that exact same book which i read to my son when he first came home to me at the age of 3. i cried then every single time we read that book, and you have just reduced me to a teary mess as well! my son is about to turn 8 and i can already sense what you talk about. i am not looking forward to that big man-boy separation but i hope i can do half as good a job as you have. well done mum & thank you for sharing, sniff sniff!