First of all, I'm hoping that my son never reads my blog. I don't want to burden him with this.
A friend of mine posted a photo of his delightful young daughter with the comment that she's growing up. I still see her as a little girl, but I'm certain he recognizes a look in her eye, an expression that says, "I just found a corner and turned it."
He reminded me of some random writing--scribbling, really--that I'd done a few weeks before. I was sitting on the patio, having wine and listening to one of my son's YouTube live concerts. Here's what I wrote:
"I notice that wine makes me reflective and melancholy and given to fits of poignancy and sadness, but champagne makes me drunk on happy and giddy.
I love my son so much and he fills me with fear. I fear 'losing' him--that he's found his life as an adult and he's living it and there's only a tiny corner of it for me. And I knew that was the deal. I knew he was a treasure I wasn't supposed to keep, but it's so hard so hard to be a mom and have your world centered on them and theirs on you, and then the balance shifts and they are THEIR OWN. I'm happy and proud and sad and afraid. I'm all the feels."
This is what it's like to be a parent. Forget diapers and scraped knees and schoolwork and lessons. This is what it's like to get to the end of your gigantic usefulness to them, and become more of an advice columnist with an opinion they can listen to or discard. You think it's going to be relaxing and fun. It is, but...it isn't.
This is what it's like to follow this parental path, follow it all the way down to sea, to where they've swum beyond your safety buoy and are out there looking reckless but planting safety buoys of their own, after they've discovered what's dangerous. That ocean is huge, and you always fight the fear that you'll never be able to find them again, and that they're too busy swimming to look for you.
And that's the way it's supposed to be.
I also hope my friend with the daughter doesn't read this. I don't think I want him to know just yet.