I saw my son on Saturday.

He needed some supplies from the store so my husband, my mom and I drove to the school to meet him.

He walked out of his dorm in response to my text and all of a sudden it hit me with razor-sharp clarity: he is a young man on the verge of adulthood. No longer my little boy.

He hasn’t been for a long time.

Yet, I found myself mildly surprised by this realization.

We only got to spend about 45 minutes with him, as he had to get back for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament with the guys in his dorm.

That entire time, I looked at my son through new eyes. He seemed to have grown in the two weeks since we had seen him.

He looked thinner to me (“They have been serving Mexican in the dining hall,” he said with clear distaste). His skin was tanned from spending so much time outdoors in between classes. (After nearly a solid month of rain, the golden, beautiful sun has mercifully and delightfully re-emerged here in our part of the world). He looked tired but happy. Content. At peace. His smile was easy, his words were relatively few. He gamely answered our many questions, but did not offer nearly as much detail as I would have liked to hear.

(“He’s a guy,” my husband explained to me later).

I will always be his mother, but our relationship has undergone a subtle yet significant shift.

His daily presence in my life is no longer a given. Earlier in the summer he went to Canada and now he is gone for a total of five weeks. He now knows what it is like to meet life on his own, to make the choices he deems best, to experience things and people that do not include us.

At the end of our time together, he hugged all of us, thanked us for coming and headed toward his dorm without looking back. I realized that I was hoping for a final wave but it was not to be.

Surprisingly … happily … I realized that was okay.

My independent son is moving forward into a future bright with possibilities. It is not really in his nature to look back. He possesses the gift of fully living in the present.

And that makes this mama’s heart a happy one.

So rolls the changing year, and so we change;
Motion so swift, we know not that we move.

—Dinah Craik


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