Today is the last full day with my son before he leaves for Houston. Tomorrow he will graduate from high school and then spend a few days with his dad before he leaves for his new life in Houston. It has been such a long, hard journey for all.
I am mired in all the feelings. All of them. Good, bad, indifferent, despondent, sad, fearful, lost, found, excited, dreading, anticipating, hopeful, loving, calloused and wistful.
And if I am totally honest, I am barely hanging on.
This just isn’t a son leaving home, it is so much more than that. This may be the last time I see him. This may be the beginning of an amazing life in which I have a part. Really could go either way.
I am doing my best to just put one foot in front of another. I feel depressed that a time that is supposed to be filled with so much happiness is clouded and mired in the way it is. But I also know that it really couldn’t be any other way.
I will do my best to enjoy this last full day of parenting him. This last gasp if you will. I will remember the good times and do my best to allow the not so good ones to just sit over there.
Since his birth, I have searched and searched for places to put him: first places I could place him so that I could shower, then preschools, babysitter, schools, all the normal things a mother does. I searched for playdates, activities, sports. Things to enrich his mind, body and soul. None of those worked. So I had to search for other places: wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, treatment centers, hospitals. I sought out therapists, behaviorists, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, medicines, treatment modalities, nutritionists, diets, supplements, vitamins, shaman, spiritual advisors, support groups, anything and everything I could think of to improve his life, and mine.
And here we are. After tomorrow, he will be a high school graduate. And I am brought to my knees at how long this journey has been and that he, defying all the odds, did it. Him, not me. HE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL!
FUCK YES KID!
And perhaps as I walk through the myriad of feelings and pangs of regret and revisionist thinking over the next 48 hours, I can rest at least a little assured that he did the work to get the degree and perhaps that is the best omen for his very uncertain future.
I am praying it is. I am praying all the time. I am praying for him to have a great life, that perhaps someday our relationship can be repaired from the shambles it is right now. Perhaps someday things will be different for him, for me, for us.
So I guess sometimes there are words. I sat down to write today and all that came up was nothing. No words. Just feelings that I could not really pin down into words. Hard, exhausting feelings that conflict inside my body and mind like a young fly trapped under glass. That is what the last 18 years have felt like, at least for me. Try as I might, I just couldn’t break free from the glass enclosure we call parenting.
But tomorrow that all changes and I can only hope that tomorrow’s graduation provides a great lifting for both of us. Him onward to his new life, and me to mine. I shall still be here gathering up the pieces of myself I have shed in my frantic flight of parenting him. I do not feel whole, I feel depleted and beyond exhausted. Perhaps that is why I shall remain and he shall fly quite literally into his future.
My task to let go again, still.