They grow up

This is a Really Real Parenting post.

I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile.

Mulling it over and under and around. Letting it float in my head. Taking undefined thoughts and turning them into words and sentences, so that I can put fingers to keys.

I miss my son.

Not just because I haven’t seen him, but also because he’s growing up, and growing more distant.

It’s developmentally appropriate of course.

“This is developmentally appropriate behavior.”

That was my mantra while he was growing up. As frustrating and annoying and difficult he could be, his behavior was always exactly what it should have been, even when I didn’t like it. (My son?!? Noooooo, not my son! He was a constant pleasure to be around, of course.)

And now is no different.

I was incredibly lucky that for his first 2 years living so far away, we talked almost daily via Messenger. He called me every week, often reminding me that it has been a whole week since we talked last.

We were close before he left (even though we fought horribly) and we were closer after he left.

But time has passed, the world has changed, and he’s settled into his life out there.

And it felt like overnight we went from chatting daily, to chatting every week or two. From weekly phone calls, to monthly phone calls.

This is developmentally appropriate behavior.

And still, that doesn’t make it easier.

I had a dream last night, that I was in the basement where I lived pre-parenthood. I remember how fun it was to live my life without the constant oversight and judgement that came from my parents.

Of course, I got pregnant, and there went the carefree life of early adulthood. (Don’t worry, I’m making up for it now.)

He’s living out that time in his life. That carefree life of early adulthood.

And I have no interest in holding him back.

It’s hard though. I’m always afraid that he’s realizing how much I fucked up while he was growing up, and that he’s distancing himself from me because of it. I worry that I’m becoming that obligatory phone call that he dreads.

I don’t believe that he owes me phone calls. I don’t believe that he owes me anything, honestly, because I brought him into this world and it was my job to raise him. He doesn’t owe me because I put that time into raising him.

It’s a type of grief, a type of loss, as he grows up and our relationship changes.

This is developmentally appropriate behavior.

He doesn’t need me in the same way anymore, and that’s good stuff right there.

I raised an adultier adult.

And when this is all weighing heavily on me, and I miss him so much that it hurts . . . I get a random text message. . .

A song that made him think of me.

A song that brings tears to both of our eyes.

He ends the message with, “I love you, Mom.”

Of course, I respond, and he never replies, but . . .

This is developmentally appropriate behavior.

Parenting is hard when they’re little. It’s hard when they’re growing up and fighting against you with everything they have.

But I feel like it’s a different kind of hard when they are grown.

And I guess my feelings are developmentally appropriate too.

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