Well my son turned 18 this past weekend. Finally. It felt like it was such a long time coming on so many levels. And yet, at the very same time, it feels like he has been fighting me for his independence since he was like 3.
His geographic to Texas started out badly but he seems to have found his groove in Austin. He has a job working almost full time and just got another part time job. He is renting a room from someone and seems very happy with his living situation.
And as far as I know, he is still sober.
He is working, living and figuring out his stuff and seems pretty happy. He is making friends at his job and seems to be finding his way through this whole life thing.
I could not be happier. For him. For his dad and I. It has been such a harrowingly long journey. Difficult in ways that no parent ever expects, and secretly dreads. Raising him was a great challenge but seeing him now seem to thrive makes it all worthwhile.
I know he is one bad decision away from total chaos. But I have done my work to know that whatever comes for him now, is his. Not mine. I may not like it, I may think it is horrible, and it may break my heart and wound my soul. But we all have arrived at this place where he is an adult and his choices and consequences are now completely his own. And I have done my own work to assure that I remember that and will not interfere with him receiving the full benefit or peril of his choices.
It has been a long trudge (feels like all uphill) with him, but right now it feels like we are both on that mountain side, the steep, inhospitable terrain behind us, the trail ahead unknown and unknowable, so he and I both pause, and take in the view. Allow for the briefest of respite before we begin to trek onward.
One of the best advantages of pausing is that reflection doesn’t ever seem to completely reflect that which you have survived, it allows for a more sentimental recall of the past. And, at least for me, I look back at all the videos and photos of him in his younger state and smile. He was so cute, so intelligent and kind. And so I rest in that. He is a good person, he always has been. He is quick witted and smart. He has his challenges, that is for sure, but who doesn’t? I hope he sees that this positive trajectory is supported by his lack of substances. But again, his life and lessons belong to him and my role now is less parenting and more listening. Encouragement when he is down and relation and laughter when all goes well.
He made it to 18. I made it to his 18. And even though it was incredibly hard for both of us, the effort we both expended was worth the place we find ourselves now. Two adults, each living our own lives, loving each other still and working on whatever comes next in this whole grand adventure we call life.
I pray he is sober, happy, productive, content and willing to take responsibility for this amazing life he has. May he be willing to do the work life requests in order to continue live each day, one day at a time, putting forth his best effort and may he live all his days happy, joyous and free.
This photo is the best example of our growth - I asked for a current photo for this blog, this is what he sent me. I said "I can barely see you." He said, "You can totally see me." I just accepted this was the one he wanted, so here it is. See how much growth. I was going to use one from when he was little that he would have hated...progress, not perfection.