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Proms, College Tours, and (My) Tears

My boy will be 17 tomorrow. Let me say that again. My boy will be SEVENTEEN tomorrow!
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My boy will be 17 tomorrow. Let me say that again. My boy will be SEVENTEEN tomorrow! I am trying so hard to let that sink in, while at the same time trying to deny it. These past few weeks have been such a whirlwind. We've done three college visits. College? Wasn't he just in Kindergarten ? He went to his first prom and had a great time, for which I was so grateful. But seriously, didn't we just teach him to walk? You know, I swore it was only recently that Santa brought him that battery-powered ride on jeep. But tomorrow? Tomorrow he goes for his license. Tomorrow I get to know first hand what real worry feels like. Tomorrow he earns just a little more independence. Tomorrow he really is no longer "my boy." Tomorrow he becomes a young man. Tomorrow.

But wasn't it just yesterday I was pushing him in a carriage? Or teaching him to eat with a spoon? How? How can the days seem sooo long sometimes, but the years be flying by? I'd like to keep tomorrow from coming. Not forever, just for a little longer. Just to stay at this stage, right now, before everything changes. Not a child, yet not quite a man. Before I have to let go even more. I just want to hold on a little longer. Believe me, I am so proud of who he is becoming. I am so excited to watch him spread his wings. I enjoy watching him as he gets closer to the next milestone, his sense of accomplishment and pride. I do, really I do. But not yet. Not tomorrow. I'm just not ready.

But it's not about me. It's about him and he's ready. That's a good thing, right? We got him ready, his dad and I. All of these years, that's what it was about-getting him "ready." So, we've done our best to make sure he is responsible, and we tried hard to teach him to make good choices. And now all we can do is hope and pray that he continues to do so.

So, tomorrow will come. And he will be anxious and nervous, but he will be fine. He will do it and I will celebrate his milestone, even though my heart will be in my throat because I know this is just one more way that I can't keep him safe and protected. But I will "hooray" and "hoorah" when he gets on that DMV line to get his photo taken and receive that little piece of plastic that, to him, stands for independence, but will scream worry and danger and "letting go" to me. And I will try to be excited because he will be happy and that's all I really want for him anyway.

And we will do more college tours and my heart will break just a little bit more, knowing that in just one year he will be heading off to college, but I will go and smile and encourage, because this is what is going to make him happy, and that's really all any of us want for our kids.

And there will be more proms, and dates and girlfriends, and I will be sad knowing that I cannot protect his heart forever, but I will go for that tuxedo and help him put on that bowtie and tell him how handsome he is and how proud I am of him, because he's doing something that makes him happy, and happiness is my greatest wish for him.

I'm not ready, I probably never will be. But he is, and that really is a good thing