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Did I Love Him Enough?

I just started reading a new book. It's called Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much by Colette Baron-Reid, who I discovered on my current favorite podcast: This is Fifty With Sheri and Nancy. It is blowing my mind and showing me that some of the extra pounds I'm carrying don't even belong to me. Seriously. This is yours, this is his, this is hers, and oh wait, THAT? That belongs to a person who isn't even part of my life anymore! Great. Take your shit back.

More on that later. But, listen to the podcast. Seriously, you will love it!

Anyway, while in this super zen, grown-up, boundary-setting, higher self head space, I need to tackle an issue I've been avoiding for about 18 years but really strongly avoiding for the last 6 months. My son is growing up. He graduates from high school on Sunday, and in a few months, he's moving to Columbus to attend THE Ohio State University.

Can I tell you a secret? I used to LOVE everything about THE Ohio State University, but the fact that my son is going there has made me feel sort of icky about it. I mean...I'm still gonna watch the Buckeyes, but maybe not with the same vigor.

In fact, my son growing up has made me feel icky about lots of things, and the only thing that gets me through the ick is writing about it. Here's your warning: It's about to get cringey*.

This morning my inner therapist and I had this conversation about the whole situation: Why haven't you written much about it? Because it makes me so sad. And? And I don't want to cry. Why? Because it's messy and ugly and might never stop.

My inner therapist reminded me that I'm always about to cry these days anyway, so maybe I should just start letting some of the tears out before I burst like an over-filled salt water balloon. That's what will likely happen Sunday at Lakeview High School in front of God and my family and every other senior parent. I apologize in advance. Don't sit by me.

Most moms who have at least one child of each gender would agree it's different with boys and girls. I was sad when Chloe graduated. I missed her like crazy when she moved away. I cried every time she went back to school, and even now I usually cry driving home from visiting her or feel a sense of sadness after she leaves. But I never felt like...oh no, I'm never going to see her or talk to her again.

That's what I feel like with P. What if he goes to school and never wants to come home?
What if he never texts me back? What if he doesn't call me? What if he doesn't answer the phone when I call? What if I never see or hear from him again? What if he forgets about me or doesn't love me anymore?

I told you. Cringey. But I just don't know how to get to the other side without getting it out of my head (and off my thighs. See above). Fact: Sons grow up and don't need their moms. Fact: I have an aversion to being needed. Fact: It creeps me out when guys are clingy with their moms. Fact: I want him to be independent and not a creep. To these facts, my inner therapist asserts (in Chloe's voice), "So what's your fucking problem?" I don't know!!! I don't know what my problem is! I'm just so sad!!

I'm sad that I didn't pay closer attention to his little boy lisps or listen closer when he wanted to tell me all the little boy things. I'm sad I didn't send out his birthday invitations sooner that year that only two people showed up at his party. I'm sad I didn't engage with him when he told me about the tattoo we would get when he turned 18. I'm sad I didn't read one more book or make up one more story or lose a damned hour of sleep to snuggle him for one more minute. I'm sad I didn't listen when people told me, "It goes so fast..." Because I promise you, I PROMISE, if I'd known it would be over this fucking fast, I would do all of those things.

Sadly, I can't. I can't go back. I can't do better. I can't change one single thing, and that feels really shitty today.

All I can do is wipe my tears, blow my nose and go forward. Try to do the next right thing.

When P was about 3 or 4 if he got upset, I would scoop him up and say, "What's the matter, buddy? Did you not get loved enough today?" And a big squeeze usually remedied whatever was troubling him. But that's not enough anymore. He can't stand when I try to pick him up. All I can hope is that in these 18 short years, I loved him enough.

*I love that word, Chrissy; thanks for introducing me to it!
and yes...that's a Corona in my hand. We were on vacation, all right?!


  1. Trust in yourself and what you have contributed to your son over the past 18 years. He may not always need you as he journeys into adulthood. But he will always choose to be part of your life. Maybe not always with a constant intensity or volume. But he will always be there for you. Take it from someone who knows about these things from the other side of the equation.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. I wish I could say the feelings change over time, but they don't - I still have these thoughts for both my children to this day. I can tell you from a 53 year old man's perspective, I am not a momma's boy, but I love my mother with all my heart and would not be the man I am today without her - I took absences and was not in contact at times, but I always came back around and it was like we had talked every day when I did. For the past 20 years of my life not a day goes by I don't talk to her - I have a pretty good idea that even at 18, your son has these feelings and is benefiting from the love you showed him and shared with him so far. Have faith in the seeds you planted and all will be well.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate hearing this from a male perspective. It was a rough week, but I see him really coming into his own, and I'm so proud of him.

      Sorry for the delayed response, I didn't get the comment notification and just found it!


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