The sun breaks over the horizon, and my eyes flutter open. It’s a milestone day.
Sixteen years ago, I awoke in a hospital room as a woman and went to sleep that night transformed by his arrival into a mother.
The child that was born that day challenges my every thought.
He shows me authenticity.
He grows, he changes, he perseveres.
And today, he takes another big step toward independence.
He will take his driver’s license test.
If he passes, he won’t need me to take him everywhere anymore.
Which my emotional heart only hears as, “He won’t need me…”
Tears roll down my cheeks.
Even if he only goes to Target.
It’s still a huge step without me.
Many other milestones have been such celebrations: his first step, his first word, his first day of school.
And this one’s a celebration too, but in such a bittersweet way.
I’ve raised him. Each milestone has been a step along the path to an independent adult.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal?
I sit with my anxiety, breathing deeply, as he takes the test. Half of me wants so badly for him to pass — he’s earned it. He knows how to do this. The other half selfishly prays for a failure — at least then he’d still need me.
He returns, triumphant. He even managed to parallel park without one single lesson.
He’s a licensed driver.
He’s one step closer to adulthood.
As he pulls out of the driveway and down the street to make his first solo trip, he checks his mirrors…and sees me in his rear view.
Wonder if he can see the tears on my cheek?
Are they tears of deep sadness or incredible pride?
Both. Mixed together.
Joy and pain.
Love and loss.
Mother and son.