18. It’s just a number, but without perspective it doesn’t mean much. 18 seconds with bare feet on hot pavement could seem like an eternity, while 18 seconds for an embrace would seem to end in the blink of an eye. 18 years? When your child is born seems like forever. But let me assure you, it is not. Time isn’t consistent at all. It speeds up and slows down of it’s own accord, and most likely in the least favorable direction. When things are tough, time drags and we wonder will it ever end. When life is full of all the good it can give, time seems to go by at the speed of light. Time is indeed, a fickle friend.
Today my firstborn child is graduating from high school. He will be going off to college in the fall to find his own life, and I find myself ecstatic and devastated at the same time.
The last 18 years have held both the joys and sorrows of the business of growing up. We hold our children’s accomplishments and defeats close to our hearts, and it shapes us; we invest emotionally in this person that is so like us, yet so different. And we reach a point in the latter teen years where we find ourselves saying, “I will miss you so much, but you HAVE to go.” And we find ourselves yet again in new territory, figuring out how to be a parent to a young adult.
18 years is not that long in retrospect. There are so many lessons to be taught and so many things to learn, and I find myself constantly wondering, did I do it good enough? Did I miss something majorly important? Will he want to come back home to visit? I had the privilege of spending 18 years with him; 18 Christmases, 18 birthdays and countless vacations and I’ve treasured every single one of them–the good and the bad. And looking back, I’m forced to revise my idea that 18 years is a long time. In the span of a lifetime, it is minuscule.
Bugaboo has given me sheer joy and gray hair alike. He has tested my patience, and broken it on occasion. He has made me laugh and cry, and everything in-between. He is polite, kind and enthusiastic. He is a joy, and I am proud to be his mom. Congratulations baby, I love you!