Today, my firstborn turns 18.
Eighteen years ago I was struggling with preeclampsia - my feet, hands, face, and abdomen were swollen beyond anything I had ever imagined. After a protein urine test over the weekend and a doctor visit on Monday afternoon, it was determined that the little boy growing inside of my womb needed to be born immediately.
And, just like that...I was officially thrust into motherhood.
I had a lot to learn...but I knew that God had created me to be a mother. He had given me this child to nurture, to teach, to prepare for the world.
...Then came sleepless nights...and I thought, "I can't wait until he sleeps through the night!"
...And then came toddlerhood...and I thought, "I can't wait until he learns to go potty...and dress himself...and feed himself!"
...Then there was preschool...and I thought, "I can't wait until he learns to read and write!"
...Early school days came and went in a flurry of commotion...and I thought, "I'll be so glad when I get him to the point where he wants to learn independently!"
...He turned 15...and I thought, "Yay, now he can drive!"
...Along the way, he began to learn to pull a man's load of work around our home and in our community...and I thought, "I'll be glad when he decides on a college to attend and chooses just the right career for himself!"
And, now...he's 18.
High school graduation is near...our school days as teacher-parent and pupil-child are almost over.
He sleeps through the night, goes to the potty and dresses himself, reads and writes, learns independently, drives his own car, and has decided on a college to attend.
He has grown to be a young man that fills me with pride.
He has big plans for his future.
...And they don't all include mom and dad.
All these things I "couldn't wait" to happen...have happened.
My firstborn son is now officially a grown man.
When I held Nathan in my arms for the first time (all 5 lb. 13 ozs. of him), I never imagined I could love him more. As the years have flown by, I have found that I love him with a greater intensity than I ever imagined.
There are emotions that only a mother understands - a teetering between wishing he were little again, and yet, enjoying what he has become.
Today, I admit, I'm sad. I'm sad for the times I know I messed up and didn't truly cherish the moments. I'm sad that his hugs are a little different. And that there are no child-like snuggles or bedtime stories now. I'm sad that he no longer depends on me.
Years ago...as I was constantly waiting for the next stage, it was hard to enjoy the moments at hand.
I thought I'd be GLAD when he was finally 18.
...But, somehow, it's not quite like I thought it'd be...