But that’s not what’s getting to me. I expected all of those little issues that I had buried deep inside me to come bubbling to the surface.
It’s Andrew. He committed to a college last night. As I’m charging the battery in preparation for tonight’s musical performance, it’s hitting me hard. I had my last booster meeting last night. This concert is one of the last times I will hear my son perform. And in less than 4 months, he will be away at school. The panic didn’t creep up on me. Nope. It came cascading like molten lava from the pit of my stomach, squeezing the air out of my lungs, not even pausing at it packs a wallop of a punch at my heart and comes to a screeching halt, arms and legs (if panic had arms and legs) flailing out of control as it tries to stop just at the back of my throat- this huge lump- a mass of hysteria threatening to spill over, tears are fighting a losing battle balanced on the rims of my eyes. My baby, complete with almost a foot of height over me, more facial hair than his brothers, a voice deeper than his brothers, is graduating.
I love all of my children. I love them each differently because I have very different relationships with each of them. Of them all, my relationship with Andy has been the most consistent since birth. I have always had an invisible bond to him that didn’t exist with his brothers. I can still sense when Andy’s nearby in a crowd without turning. I feel his emotions as clear as if they were my own. When he’s upset, stressed, nervous, mad- I feel it. I’ve teased him for years that they never cut the cord.
Andy was the most miserable baby ever. He didn’t have colic. There was no medical reason. He was just the most extreme infant. The only cure for his unhappiness was me. Not just being near me- nope. He wanted to be held by me. At an early age he realized that I would tiptoe past him in an attempt to get something done so he kept a close eye out for movement to make sure it wasn’t me. Imagine this little guy- probably 4 months old- his head whipping this way and that at the slightest sound or movement to try to catch me. He was either extremely happy or extremely miserable or extremely mad. No middle ground.
Over time he separated from me some and he grew into a bright gifted little boy. He loved Thomas, Winnie the Pooh, Arthur, Blue’s Clues and his brothers. He displayed a talent for writing and music. I have spent the last 10 years attending his plays and concerts and I never fail to be amazed at him. He is a hard worker, a natural born comedian, a gentleman and the most loyal brother a guy could ask for. While his brothers were growing up and moving about their lives, Andy was always there. I guess I knew he would have to grow up too, but I think that somehow having him there helped me to let his brothers go.
So now I’m making sure his tux is as wrinkle free as possible and the camera is fully charged, I’m blinking back tears. When he plays tonight, it’s going to be hard to see the awesome young adult I’ve raised because I’m pretty sure I’m going to be remembering that contrary baby who wouldn’t leave my side and wondering where he went.
Life goes on. And this is a good thing. There are great things ahead for both Andy and me. I guess he won’t be the only one growing up.