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Motherhood 101: Road Trip, Getting Scared & 12 Days

by Ilana Angel

May 1, 2014 | 10:13 am

My son graduates high school in 1 month. Thirty-five days to be exact, and I am freaking out. He turned 18 in January, has embraced his newly reached adulthood, and is spreading his wings and getting ready to fly the coop. Last night we went out for dinner and he casually mentioned he booked the “road trip”. I congratulated him while I silently panicked. We spoke of the trip casually so the booking was a shock.

After graduation weekend, he and four of his friends are taking a road trip. They will drive to San Francisco for a couple days, then drive down to Los Angeles, stopping at a couple places along the way to camp out. It sounds like a great trip and I know they will have a wonderful time, but I am struggling. He didn’t need to ask me for permission of course, but that he made the plans on his own is strange. Is he a grown up now?

Is this how it will work from now on? I will be advised rather than consulted? If he is on a boys trip am I allowed to check in? Track him on my phone? Insist on a first aid kit? I have spent 18 years mothering this child and I don’t know how to turn that off. More importantly, I don’t want to turn it off. Being this boy’s mother is how I define myself and I am confused by what to do now in terms of being a mom.

We came home from dinner and hung for a bit just chatting about everything and nothing. He told me he was going to take a shower so I made a cup of tea and relaxed on the couch. After a little while I called out to my son to see if he wanted a cup of tea. He did not answer so I went to his room to check in. The door was ajar so I walked into his dark room calling out his name quietly, not sure if he was still in the shower or had perhaps already fallen asleep.

I took a step into his room, then the door closed behind me and he yelled out “Hi Mommy” from behind the door. Really? He does this a lot and it pisses me off. I am easily scared and spooked and he thinks it is the funniest thing in the world to scare me. Not funny. It caught my breath, made me cry, and I thought I might pass out I was so scared. I am not sure what exactly is funny about that happening to me, but he truly thinks it is hilarious.

I screamed at him, wiped my tears, and stormed out of his room. I ducked into the bathroom and when he came after me I jumped out to scare him, but I got nothing. Not even a flinch. My attempt to scare him made him laugh even harder. I eventually started laughing too. Not because it was funny, but rather because his laugher was perfection. His laugh has not changed over the years and hearing him took me back to his being a very little boy.

I know he is growing up. I know he is technically an adult. I know he is leaving home. I know he is ready. I also know that he is nervous and that no matter how confident he is, he still needs me and will miss me as much as I miss him. There is something special about a mother/son relationship and there is an additional layer of love when you are a single mother raising a boy to be a man on your own. We are very close and I’m proud and heartbroken by it all.

This morning my son sent me a text message informing me he only has 12 days of school left. As if last night wasn’t enough of a shock, the text made me pause for a moment and take a deep breath. We are going to London in a couple of weeks for his final university interview and so with the time away, 12 days is all that is left. My son is planning to attend university overseas and the realization of everything has officially knocked me on my ass.

I must remind myself to slow down and enjoy everything that is happening. There are a ton of senior class events, parties, graduation, prom, and our trip to London. I want to soak up every single second of this time together. Some days it requires a lot of work to not cry and other days I cry openly and joyously at the life I have had with this remarkable human being who I created. He has all the best parts of his dad and me. He is perfect to me.

Important to note that even though it is an extremely busy and emotional time, I am going to think of a way to scare my kid. By thinking of course I mean plotting. He will read this blog and laugh, believing I will never spook him, but it is coming my child. Know it. When you least expect it, I will scare the crap out of you and I cannot wait. I love my son in a way I never thought imaginable. The love inspires me to grasp onto the past and reach for the future, while keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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