Yesterday my oldest headed out on an adventure with his church group and hundreds of high school students to explore their faith and Daytona Beach. He's thrilled to have his first big vacation alongside his peers. It was like Disney morning.
I'm excited about everything he's going to learn about himself while he navigates the world.
I want him to have a blast and relish in all of the hard work he's put into becoming an invested student and hard worker.
I helped him pack and plan for a fun vacation while reminding him (he didn't need it) to have fun and build memories.
It always takes my breath away to imagine that one day, we'll be seeing him off into the world.
Eventually, he'll start his journey into this world (proudly so!), and the days of us living life together will be a sweet cherished memory.
I like to imagine that I'll be mature and healthy about it when the moment comes. I won't try to keep him home one more day or throw him back in the car, lock all the doors, and drive away from reality. Instead, I'll be proud to see him take his place in the world.
Today taught me I'm not ready.
I don't want to be mature today, and giving him healthy space to be his own human feels like... not today. Today just ain't the day. I did the adult and healthy thing while there with him, but after we left, the flood of time flying by these past few years hit me like a bag of heated rocks with essential oil.
It felt all kinds of ways.
Look, my whole existence has been dedicated to breaking the vicious generational cycle of poverty, neglect, and fixed mindsets that plagued our family for generations. There are many categories to this venture, and one is my parenting. I'm not done breaking the cycle; it will be a life's mission.
I'm not saying that I want to give him everything we didn't have materialistically because that's not my aim. He works for his wants, budgets for his needs, and chooses to invest 70% of his income to front-load his financial future.
Breaking the cycle to me is sometimes intangible because it involves creating a healthy foundation of strategies to navigate and hold space for the raw human experience.
I want nothing more than to raise a securely attached, financially literate, and emotionally attuned man into the world that can hold space for conflict and communicate with constructive strategies while staying in touch with his inner essence.
He will come out of this ride with his share of challenges, and we've dropped the ball a few times on the path to raising him because there is a cost to breaking the cycle, and we're still learning.
Even so, I trust him to navigate the world; I just didn't think it would be knocking at my door so soon to whisk him away into the beauty and wonder it has to offer.
I want to pause time and not have to imagine what the next four years have in store for us. Driving, college, parties and a new environment to understand- the world of high school.
I have an app that tells me how much time I have left with him and reminds me of the season of life he's in and what he may need from me.
When I brought him home from the hospital, I had 936 weeks of time with him to learn his essence, nurture him, and ultimately prepare and build a mini human for the world.
Today I have 209 weeks left.
That's four years. Let me put that into perspective.
I have four summers, four birthday parties, and four holiday seasons left with him, and this one is coming to an end.
I know I will have the rest of my life with him, but within the context of this chapter, the one where he is still a kid who is living and just being with us, this chapter will soon come to a wrap.
I want him in the world, and I don't want to hold him back. He knows 18 is his time to fly, but today I want to pretend like I don't want to see him go.
I know it's time-sensitive and will be gone in a blink of an eye.
Hugging him goodbye felt like leaving him on his first day of school.
Does he know my number if he gets lost?
Will he make friends?
Will he eat his lunch?
Will he be assertive in his communication?
Will he use boundaries?
Will he be intentional in building relationships?
As we dropped him off, I lingered as long as he'd let me and tried to fit in with the teenagers. I played it cool the whole time, but alas, just like his first day of school, he was ready and felt confident about his next adventure.
I wasn't ready on his first day of kindergarten, and I'm still not ready years later, but I'm at peace knowing he's finding his way.
I use these moments as mini-training sessions to build the capacity to hold multiple hard truths and the reality that life evolves, and eventually, I will have to evolve with it.
I usually turn this perspective into fuel for mindfulness, presence, and intentionality over the time we do have, but not today. I don't want to be self-aware, emotionally intelligent, or kinda conscious.
Okay, maybe just a little.
I'm grateful that he continues to experience the magic of the hearts of good humans who are living their stories in alignment with values and, in turn, creates excitement on his path about the possibilities of tomorrow. ✨
I'm thankful for the brave humans pouring into our kids who are still growing up. Thus pouring into their parents who are still growing up as well.
It means the universe to us that he has opportunities to experience the world in a multitude of ways.
I'm going to go kick some rocks now, maybe eat some bad carbs.
The Adventure Continues!