Today we will go see another car as we continue the search for an appropriate vehicle for our 17 year old son.
Allow me just a minute to deconstruct the parts of the sentence that are killing me:
- my son is 17
- he is getting his own car
- MY SON IS 17 AND GETTING HIS OWN CAR
You may note some slight anxiety in my all-caps tone. If you know me well, you may even recognize that I could possibly be approaching a full scale panic.
Because it’s all happening too fast.
I already feel like I am counting days til he leaves us and my heart is breaking.
First the license. Then the college visits began. Then the SATs. Now the buying of the car, with more college visits on the horizon. National Honor Society induction. Junior year finals approaching. Senior pictures about to be taken.
This kid. This no-longer-a-boy. This young man.
He makes me so proud every day. He annoys the crap out of me. He makes me laugh. He misses the bus sometimes and I am secretly so happy when he does because I get another chance to chat with him, one on one, as we drive the 15-20 minutes to school. We have great conversations.
Also secretly, I will miss the chance to have these conversations once he does have his own car.
And not so secretly, I will desperately miss him when he goes off to college. What will our lives be like when he is not here every day? What will it be like when I don’t have to scream his name up the stairs because he is playing video games with his noise-cancelling headphones on? What will it be like when I get home from my morning workout and he is not there in kitchen drinking a protein shake or eating a Clif bar while I drink my coffee before he goes to catch the bus?
Some of these moments are precious and some of them…uh, less so…but I will miss all of them when he goes.
And yet, he will go. And he will continue to make me proud every day. And annoy me. And make me laugh.
I will text him every day and want to know what’s going on with his life as I will no longer be privy to the day to day details. Hopefully he’ll answer often.
Hopefully he’ll come home sometimes and still sit on the couch with us and watch our favorite shows. Hopefully he’ll still want to play some Yahtzee or Scattergories with us when he is home.
I can only watch and wait and sometimes cry as I anticipate him going, hoping with futility that time will slow down during the next year-and-a-couple-of-months.
But I am confident that I’ve done my job. I’ve prepared him to go out into the world and be a good person, and his core personality of kindness, geniality, and sarcastic humor (once you know him well enough) will not change. He’ll develop some new habits and characteristics; he’ll make mistakes; he’ll try new things and sometimes succeed and sometimes fail.
And my heart will continue to break even as I cheer him on in his independence. This, for me, is the hardest part of parenting. You prepare them to say goodbye and go off on their own and you watch them go and they take a large part of your heart with them when they do.
That’s the job.
And so we car shop.