It's 6 am, do you know where your child is? Mine is sleeping in the bed next to mine. He's sound asleep, and in a few hours he will be in his dorm over at Ohio University, and I will be driving East toward the town we have both lived in for the past fourteen years. It's going to be strange going home, and not have him with me. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do now. Didn't think this would happen, that I would be so choked up when it came time to say 'good bye' but I'm holding back the tears. I guess I'm not different from other moms, when it comes to letting go. Yet, for the good of my son I will let him go, because this is his time to shine, and it's his time to grow.
I think back to the years, when he was holding on to my legs, in an effort to have me stay with him at what would later be known to me and his dad, as The Crying School. He was two years old, and I wanted to get a part time time at Saks Fifth Avenue so I attempted to drop him off at the day care that was contracted by his dad's employer. It was a beautiful place, with a tree house in the center right when you walked in. It was located in the heart of midtown Manhattan just a few blocks from his dad's office and a few blocks from where I had recently worked as a vice president / account executive. I had left my career, knowing I was going to be a full time mother, after I found out that he had suffered a brain injury. I was struggling with being in a world with what seemed to have no adult interaction, and I thought maybe I could get a part time job just so I could get out of the apartment for a little while during the day. Well, it didn't work out that way, because he was so upset that I actually showed up at Saks Fifth Avenue with him in my arms. I couldn't leave him there like that, so alone, and so in need of protection. Sure I felt that the day care was safe, and I didn't understand why he didn't run to the tree house like the other children seemed to be doing, but he just didn't feel safe for some reason, and he didn't want me to leave.
Then there was the time when he was taking swimming lessons, and he clung to the instructor for dear life. I sat from the sidelines that time, wanting to jump into the pool to rescue him, but knowing that it wasn't the right thing to do. I had never had swimming lessons, and I didn't know how to dive into water. I didn't want him to be like me, so I was determined to have him learn not to be afraid to do that. I wanted him to feel comfortable at pool parties, and know how to dive. All I ever wanted for him was for him not to be like me.
I am sitting here and I'm thinking about why that is. Why is it some parents would do anything to have their kids turn out to be anyone but someone like them? I look at my son and I think about how he is patient, and how he's confident. So much more so than I was at his age. I think about how he takes things on and doesn't seem to get stressed. I love how respectful he is and how he holds back words when he gets angry. I think about how kind he is to me, and even though he's a 'typical teenager' he is also anything but when it comes to being obnoxious and rude, at least that's the man I see most of the time. It took me years to learn to have patience, and I'm not as calm as he is when it comes to most things.
My son was born at NYU Hospital, eighteen years ago this past June. When he was born, he was bleeding from his eyes, and it was later revealed to his dad and myself that he had suffered a stroke during birth. I think that his skull was crushed with forceps when the doctors were trying desperately to get him out so that he would not suffocate to death from the drugs that were given to me when I was already nine centimeters. I never sued the hospital even though so many people suggested I should. All I cared about was that he was alive. Some people know that my son was diagnosed with a learning disability which was most likely the residual effect of the stroke he suffered. Of course, that's the primary reason I have studied how traumatic brain injuries can affect your behavior, but it's not the only reason.
Well, none of that seems important today. Nothing I'm doing seems to matter, and all that matters really is my son's future. I know in a few days I'll get back on track and figure out what direction I'm going, but for now all I know is that I'm heading in one direction. That one direction is the opposite one that my son is heading. It might take me a few days to recover from this, I guess it's a bit harder than I imagined.
I want to go to the book store and order every book for the courses on his schedule, and I want to type every paper but I won't do that. I know this is my son's time to learn and grow, and what would that do for him. He's earned entrance into this university, and it's his turn to study and grow. I hope he takes advantage of all the wonderful amazing things that college has to offer. I hope he has the very best of times. It's as though it was yesterday that I was walking him in his stroller and someone on the street corner stopped and said, "Oh is he a newborn, I can tell by the way he is crying like that. Newborns have a distinct cry. Cherish this time, because he'll soon be in college." I had no idea how accurate that statement was, until this morning. Time flies, and it is as though it was yesterday that I was holding him in my arms. It feels like yesterday, that I was taking him to see Wrestlemania or driving to some Yu-Gi-Oh match. What an amazing journey it's been, raising him.
I often work, what seems like 24/7 on my dreams of building a social media business that specializes in sports, and I want to create a fantasy sports site someday. I used to think it was something I would leave behind, like this great idea I had which seemed to matter. I think about the song by Linkin Park which has lyrics about doing something that will cause people to miss you, and leaving something special behind. It occurred to me, last night, that my very best work has been in parenting. My son is everything I wasn't, and that's likely because he had a mother who loved him more than herself. My son has always meant the world to me. He meant more than any man ever did, more than any mansion or yacht. My son's foundation was all that mattered.
If I should die tomorrow, I probably won't have finished my fantasy sports site, and my dreams of doing so may never be realized but I will have done something far greater. I will have done something that many look back and wish they had done. I will have raised a very good man, and that is the greatest give I could ever give anyone. It's greater than any fantasy, ever could be. Good luck to my son and thank you to Ohio University for accepting him into your program. I think he's going to do just fine.