This is the oldest picture of Hayden on this blog:
It’s from his very brief football career in 2008.
This is the latest picture of Hayden, taken yesterday as he mowed the lawn for the last time.
Comparing the two makes me cry, which is fine because I’m pretty much just a blubbering, bawling, baby today. Tomorrow we get in the car and drive the nine hours back to Lincoln to put my bearded baby boy into a residence hall and then we will drive nine hours back to Minnesota …
I’m trying to focus on the positive: There won’t be knives with globs of peanut butter on them in the sink anymore. Bathrooms will be easier to clean. I’ll have less laundry. One less person to nag …
It’s not working. Still crying.
Of my three kids, Hayden has taken the most hands-on parenting. When he was little, he was the most physical so he literally needed my hands all the time. As he grew and struggled with the challenges that come with ADHD, he required a lot of figurative hand holding. I kind of thought that when it finally came time for him to leave home, there would be a measure of relief but, no.
In fact, the kid has done so much maturing over the last few months that he’s really become fun to have around and truly helpful. One of the key things everyone should have when they’re packing up a house, moving to another state and then unpacking a house is a strong 18 year old boy. Strong, 18 year old boys are darned handy to have around. I don’t know what I would have done without him this summer. He’s been good company and good help and…
Darn it. I’m going to miss this kid.
Of course the measure of successful parenting is that your kids grow up and leave home and goodness knows that I don’t actually want my adult children living with me forever. But … I guess I just want them to not be adult children. I want to freeze them in time for a while. I want us to be a family of five living together for a while longer. I want more snuggles and more dinners and more trips and more lazy Sundays.
Why isn’t that a choice? I want that to be a choice.
Sending Reagan off wasn’t this hard. She was three miles away for Pete’s sake and I could see her any old time I wanted to. Besides, I still had two at home keeping me plenty busy. Now I have two in another state and just poor Faith who gets to be the sole focus of my attention.
Probably you should pray for that poor girl.
So this week we send another child out into the world. If he’s like his sister, this will be the last time he lives with us. Or perhaps he’ll come home for summers. I guess there’s always the possibility that he’ll stumble and need to come home to regroup.
I’m kinda thinking he’ll probably make it out there though. He’s smart and funny and growing more capable every day. He’s going to make some mistakes, but that’s how we learn. And I want so much for him so succeed that it would be selfish to hope that he doesn’t just so I could get him back for a while.
So I’m just going to cry for what’s past and then move on to cheering for what is to come.