Independence Day, 2011. Today is a bittersweet day that marks the end of an era.
17 years ago, I was a week overdue with my first baby. I was feeling heavy and nauseous, and not from too many hotdogs or Pina Coladas, either. I wasn't in labor, but I was sure wishing I was. It was a Monday--just like this year. For the first time in my life, I skipped watching fireworks.
Two mornings later, I woke. It was hot and still. The cicadas were buzzing. Still no contractions and now marked 9 days past my due date. I got out of bed. There was a sudden "woosh" down my legs and a large brown puddle formed on the rug.
"Oh Crap!" (Literally.)
I doubled over with an immediate contraction.
When I recovered, I called my midwife who recommended eating, walking a little and moseying over to the hospital sometime soon. As the contractions intensified, we went to the hospital and labored all day and all night, in a push-pull between me and my unborn baby.
We decided on a c-section early on Thursday morning and in the 7th hour of the 7th day of the 7th month, he was born.
It has been an eventful 17 years!
And, I have loved and hated being his mother. He was not an easy baby or a compliant child. He has a mind of his own and it is nearly impossible, though I tried, to "make" him do anything.
At 17, he is nearly a grown man. I can talk to him, advise him, and pray for him, but the illusion that I can "Make Him Do Anything" is over. He eats what he wants, sleeps when he wants, goes where he wants and chooses his own friends, some of whom, I really don't like.
I feel proud of many of the choices I made. I nursed him until he was three and he is loving, affectionate and compassionate. We slept together until he left my bed and he still hugs me in public. I encouraged him to be himself and he is!
People really like him and I really like him, too!
I have a few regrets. I think he would have done better in school if we had delayed Kindergarten. I wish I had nursed him until he weaned himself, like my other two. I wish I had been more conscientious with the whole tooth brushing business. I wish I could have figured out how to get along better with his dad.
Now, my job is to watch from the sidelines. I'm not "In The Game" anymore and that's sad because I do miss being with him. I am not completely done being his mother--I see how much I have gotten from my parents as an adult and we are just starting that phase, but it's different. I have to back off and treat him as an adult, not a kid.
I am happy and I love that he is off on his own adventure and that he has people and tools in place to handle it. His goal this year is to finish his Eagle Scout requirements and take a 100 mile backpacking trip to Philmont, the Boy Scout camp in New Mexico. I am fully confident he can do both because he is choosing his goals and he has many adults in his life who care about him. They support him and help him in ways I can't, yet I can see how I helped him get to this place.
I am proud of him and I am ready to take a deep breath and enjoy some independence again!