Releasing a Dove

Single Mom Slice of Life:
Letting Go When Your Baby Becomes An Adult


Have you ever spent say… 19 years… focused on raising a kid then faced having to let him go? Watching as he wanders out into the world – giving up any and all control that you ever pretended you had?

Me either – until today. As I sit right now, in the lobby of the institution about to take over what used to be my job of preparing my baby boy to live out in the real world, I find myself watching, listening, panicking as my son has his interview with the Department of Labor.

If accepted to their program, he will live on campus and that will change my home forever. Who will complain about having to take the trash out, or empty the fridge in a single swallow, or complain that I’m snoring too loud to hear the TV?

This is his interview. I’m just the ride. I’m not even allowed in the room with him. I’ve said before that this is their world and I’m just visiting, but, never have I ever been slapped upside the face with it. What if he forgets to ask about…? How will he respond to…? Does he know that…?

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Not only must I understand that my baby boy is growing up, but that I have in fact been a bona fide card-carrying helicopter mom. Sure, I’ve laughed at other parents who I’ve seen do the EXACT same thing . . . and yeah, I may have once or twice wondered if I am in fact over involved in my kids’ lives. No more wondering.

These students are talking about things like breaking it to their parents that they’d rather stay on campus this weekend instead of coming home, or the roommate meeting where Elisa is going to be told she’s not allowed to hog the easy chores anymore.

These aren’t kids, they’re adults. Their pants are pulled all the way up, not dragging down around their butts. They’re talking about things like internships and jobs – withOUT complaint. They’re discussing, accepting, and acknowledging responsibility without an adult hovering over their shoulders. One student even said he was going to head over and sign up to be a tutor so he could help someone the way his tutor had helped him.

It’s what I wanted, right? I mean, this IS why I’ve sacrificed and worked for the last 18 years. My parenting plan has been “trying to raise productive and giving members of society, one eye roll and heavy sigh at a time”. Is it any coincidence only today I noticed that I’ve made the transition from momma, to mommy, to mom, and this afternoon to “ma”? My home will now be an Axe Body Spray free zone. The amount of dishes, laundry, and food consumption will be cut seriously back. The amount of “mom he hit me” complaints will drop to zero!!

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So why then am I a heartbeat away from crying? It’s probably because I can see him through the glass doors. He doesn’t look like my kid. He looks like an adult – someone who doesn’t want . . . or rather need . . . his mom to do things for him anymore. He’s smiling, nodding, talking. He doesn’t look scared, nervous or even reluctant. He looks like a man, and I was trying to raise a man. It’s been a long, drawn out, sometimes wine fueled journey. But it looks like we made it. My baby won’t be living in my home.

My little boy won’t be coming to me with homework problems. My son doesn’t need my permission anymore to live his life the way he wants to. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t bother me. Not because I want to control his life, but because I’m going to miss him. Through domestic violence, poor paying jobs, moving to a new state without knowing anyone, and rebuilding our lives from scratch, he’s been my co-pilot for the last 10 years. It’s been us against them. We were team Mom and Son.

Today he was traded to Team Nick.

I have to trust that he’s ready to start this next phase in his life. Plus, it’s not like I’m going anywhere. Puh-leese. I’m his mom. He couldn’t get rid of me if he tried (and trust me – he’s tried).