Thursday, August 24, 2006

When The Kids Grow Up

I haven't been writing much and there's been so much that's been going though my head. In the last few weeks I've climbed my first 14'er, had a road-trip with the kids, and have had more action and potentials in the dating scene than I've had in a long time. But, I'll have to catch up with those blog entries another time. Today's entry is about my 19-year-old son, Matt.

It's impossible to describe the love you feel for your children. Just the thought of losing one of them is enough to make me get so teary-eyed that I have to remind myself that they are all perfectly healthy. If one of my children were to die, I don't know if I'd be able to go on. My love for them is so strong, and I think partly it's because they are the three people that really have always needed me and somehow that has given me purpose.

Matt no longer depends on me. What's strange is, after the divorce I inadvertantly became dependent on him. Matt was 16 years old when I got divorced. He has always been one of the most reliable, protective, smartest kids anyone could ever hope to know. He's the consumate Boy Scout, always prepared, always knowledgable about what the "right" thing to do is in any situation. When I got divorced, it was Matt that became the "handyman"...well, to an extent, he was the handyman when I was married, too. He knows how to fix things. Matt also enjoys putting on the "protective father" show, kidding me about my dates and my new single status.

Matt's Senior year was very tough and stressful. Without going into the specifics, we both were going through very rough times, going to therapy separately, and together. It was a year that was incredibly painful, and I wondered if I would lose the relationship I'd treasured with my older son. There were many things going on with him...girlfriend problems, school pressures, and other typical teen stuff. But, I think he'd also felt this pressure to "take care of me". I was in this vulnerable spot and really felt so clueless about so many things. Matt did not want to have to be the grown-up in our family and for that year, he rebelled.

We made it through the year, and he fullfilled his goal...he got accepted to UC Berkeley. Somehow, with the therapy and emotions of graduation and his excitement of living his dreams, we found a way to reconnect on a deeper level. I cried most of the summer last year. I cried because when I thought I'd finally gotten back the relationship with the son that I'd remembered, I had to physically lose him. I cried because I knew that I had become dependent on him and that that was part of why he had to leave. I cried because I felt that I was losing one more person from my family.

We all survived Matt's Freshman Year and he's been home all summer. Matt is more mellow and good-natured than ever. The stresses of Senior Year are far behind us. He tells me he loves me often. He plays with his little brother. He helps me around the house. He is thedependable, loving son that any mother would die for. And in half an hour, I need to drive him to the airport to go back to California for his Sophomore year of college.

I know I am much more prepared this year than I was last year. I can live without Matt. I am more independent and emotionally healthy. I am so proud of the man that he's become. But I will miss him so much.

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