Monday, January 25, 2010

Bittersweet Sixteen


I feel sorry for my oldest son who will forever have the role of official mommy heartbreaker. For better or for worse, he grows up first and therefore, causes me to stumble upon his every milestone.

This weekend he will turn sweet 16. Every kid looks forward to this momentous birthday, at least here in Utah, as they can finally date and drive. Being a first time 16 year-old's mom, however, I was not on the ball enough to get him to summer Driver's Ed (What? time for that already? Didn't you just go off to Jr. High yesterday, that was a hard day too!) Soo, it worked out well to tell him that he needed to earn his Eagle before getting his license. And, he tells me, that aside from his first date with his grandmother, he has no immediate plans for dating (I'm sure the young ladies in his class have other plans, however).

Still, the ball is now rolling. Our little (actually not so “little”) intact family is about to blossom (that's a euphemism for all my kids growing up, leaving home and ripping my heart out). I thought the hard part was keeping them alive for this long. Turns out that it's even harder to watch them naturally shift from loving to hang out and watch Disney movies with you on Friday nights to actually preferring their friends, or at least their friends' houses where there aren't eight younger siblings clamoring for attention.

To be fair, my eldest has far exceeded my expectations in this regard for many years. He truly has been the quintessential “big brother,” always babysitting without complaint, or being the guy to set up family movie night complete with the “nest” of blankets and pillows for popcorn and snuggling. But the times, they are a-changin'.

No longer will it just be dad and mom in the front seat of the van going cross country with everyone in tow, now we'll have a third driver. Someone new to talk to at 2 am on those lonely, dark all-nighters. This is definitely a good thing and I am actually happy and excited about it! (Can't you tell? I'm smiling, really, I am). It's just that I know that I must also mourn the loss of my children's babyhood.

Yes, there are many more still under my watchful care (trapped because they have no drivers license), but this moment in time represents the beginning of the end of my reign as Queen of Hyper Control. I now officially have to “let go and let God.”

I know the Lord will watch over and protect my firstborn son, as He does all of us. But I hope his first date for a girl's choice dance will understand, if, after taking too many pictures, I recite through my tears, as they get into the car: “I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be!”

After all, she'll be a mother too someday (but not until WAY after his mission!!!!).


Matthew said...

What a poignant posting. I remember feeling something similar to what you described when I realized that someday my kids would launch their own lives, and that would involve much less of me... Of course, my oldest is still quite small, so I have time to prepare myself before the driving stage =)

Mary Ann said...

"let go and let god". Succinct, indispensable advice all of us need, I think.

Kerri said...

And I thought it was bad that my oldest just started young women! I guess I have a few more years before dating and driving, thank goodness.

sara jensen said...

Thankfully Jacob is the best ever personality to break you in to such change. You are doing such an amazing job with all of them!