The tassel was worth the hassle!
The moment you were born, the nurses laid you in my awkward arms and we were formally introduced. “Hello Brennan,” I whispered softly. “I hope I don’t forget to feed you.” An image of my goldfish floating upside down briefly swam to mind. We gazed at each other warily, you with your dark shark eyes, me like a deer in headlights.
You peed on me whenever I opened your diaper, wouldn’t latch on to my swollen breasts, and glared impatiently at our botched attempts to buckle your car seat. I had never even changed a diaper. Why would they allow me to take a baby home without adult supervision? I was gently reminded I was almost 35. Perhaps it was time to grow up.
This week you graduate from high school. I wait with butterflies for your turn to walk across the stage in your cap and gown. You stride with confidence to get your diploma, and my heart swells two sizes. In the fall, you’ll be moving across the country to go to university. Our family dynamic, neatly set for four people, will be altered. My emotions are all over the map.
Have I done enough? You don’t seem prepared for life on the outside. Last summer when you went to Africa, you forgot to wash your clothes…for 40 days. Have I done too much? Living in a top-notch bed and breakfast, complete with chambermaid and laundry service, has made you soft. I’m an enabler.
I hope the time spent on your phone playing pointless games, or binge-watching eight seasons of Family Guy won’t give you permanent brain damage. I profoundly hope you boomerang back to us when your education is complete. We want to enjoy the fruits of our labour.
This gene is automatically ingrained in new mothers. Did you notice how much time I spent on the computer, researching how to be a good mother? You probably didn’t, because I completely ignored you while I looked.
You are thoughtful, kind, funny, and a deep thinker. You’re not too cool for cuddling and tuck-ins. We’ve had the time of our lives living vicariously through your youth. You will make the world a better place.
Last week as the two of us were watching Toy Story 3, you excitedly announced that both you and Andy were leaving for college. I burst into tears. You’re going to make poor choices, face heartbreak, and possible alcohol poisoning. I hope school doesn’t get in the way…
You’ve gone MIA, spending most of your time with friends, and staying out too late. But I’m onto you. You’re trying to make us miserable, so we can’t wait for you to go. It’s working! This is known as soiling the nest. The increased independence will make it easier for you to leave home, and for us to set you free.
Eighteen years ago, I nested. I spent months preparing the nursery, covering electrical outlets, and filling the diaper bag. Now I find myself nesting again, only this time you’re flying the coop. I grew you, and you will always be mine. But for now, the world is your oyster. Get out there and find your pearl.
Tunes you should have on your iPod:
Bob Dylan ✸ Forever Young
Bruce Springsteen ✪ Born To Run
Fleetwood Mac ✤ Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
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