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No one prepared me for how hard it would be to let him go

I can’t believe it has been four years since I posted about lasts, but today marks the end of something treasured: goodbye morning hugs. For the past four years I’ve gotten a goodbye morning hug from my youngest son before he headed out to high school. Some days it was rushed, others I’d sneak in a quick kiss on his cheek. I’d always tell him I loved him.

Today was the last one. We both knew it. He let me squeeze him tighter and plant a flurry of kisses on his cheek. Yes, I can still hug him, I know. I realize how lucky I am, believe me. But I’m still wrestling with this last.

When you’re expecting, there’s a bombardment of information preparing you for the countless firsts. Smile, word, sleep-through-night, solid food, step. All momentous. All unforgettable. I was prepared. I knew what to expect. I liked being ready, it gave me a sense of control.

No one prepared me for how hard it would be to let go. I’ve spent the past two decades holding my boys close, loving hard, protecting. Now I have to open up and let my youngest fly, and I’m not ready.

I’m not ready.

My nature is to ruminate when I’m sad, to feel the sadness until I’ve cried and cried and I’m ready to move on. This is a perfect storm of emotion for someone like me. When I let myself feel this fear and sadness, I have a flicker of worry that I won’t recover, that I won’t be the same. Deep down I know I won’t. How could I be? My boy, my sweet, sweet boy will be off to college soon and that will be that.

Who will I take care of? Who will I make a massive plate of tortellini for? The bouncing basketball I hear from my office, letting me know he’s home from school, shall cease today. Another last.

I’m not ready.

This is hard. No one prepared me for how hard it would be to let go. There should be a pamphlet or something. One thing I know is that being his mom for the past 18 years has been an outrageous joy. A gift. I hope he keeps his wide-eyed enthusiasm for things he’s passionate about because it’s contagious. As a little boy he used to ask me, “Mom, you wanna go ‘venturing?” Oh, we adventured alright. First, dinosaurs, then Yu-Gi-Oh cards, then ice hockey. Then a permit and license and text me when you get there.

I hope he’s ready. I hope he continues ‘venturing and laughing and reaching and growing.

This is hard. No one prepared me for how hard it would be to let him go.

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