Ready for the next BIG thing …

We were all over the place yesterday. We started off with a relaxing morning at our hotel. Then we picked up some more things for George's dorm room and went to a nice lunch. We later headed into San Francisco to drop off some things at Sidney's new place and also for some fun. After an unusually late dinner we headed back to our hotel. We were all pretty tired from our day and George fell asleep on the way home. I was glad. He has a HUGE day tomorrow. It's not every day that you move into your first college dorm room.

Anyway, I realized that he fell asleep about 30 minutes into our drive back when his breathing changed. It caught my attention and I looked over at him. He was sound asleep and I was suddenly stuck with more emotions than my heart could handle. It was like my entire being was flooded with 18 years of memories. Memories of my precious baby boy who has now GROWN into an incredible young man. A man about to start his new life at college. A man about to chase his dreams. And it all seems to have happened in the blink of an eye. It overwhelms me. All of it. I couldn't be prouder of my son. Or happier. But I am sad for me. I am going to miss this kid. A lot.

I reached over and touched George's face as he slept. It has changed so much. HE has changed so much. I guess I startled him as he woke long enough to grab ahold of my hand. His hands are not the little boy's hands who held my mine all those years ago. They are a man's LARGE hands. My hearts wanted to scream out, "Who's hands are these? Where are my baby boy's hands?" But I didn't. I know who's hands they are. And it's all just so hard to believe.

George held my hand briefly before falling back to sleep. I continued our drive back to the hotel thinking about the years that have passed and the years that lie ahead. All that newness. But knowing in my heart that it's time. It's time for all this TREMENDOUS change. Life has brought us here. And this is where we must part (at least temporarily) and trust where God is going to lead us. Son and mom. Mom and son. Son. Mom. Wherever life takes us. THIS is where we let go.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are ready for the next BIG thing!!!

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A morning at home …

Today will be the last morning George wakes up in our home for at least the next few months. That is just weird. Aside from sleepovers and camps, for the past 18 years he has been here in the morning.

George is an early riser. He always has been. Even as a baby. He's quiet for about 30 minutes after waking up. When he comes to the kitchen he is "officially" wake enough to eat and say good morning. He drinks coffee now and has a routine that is so … um … adult-like. I saw changes in him coming over the past few years. Really it was more like "sneaking" into our lives like a thief in the night and changing my little boy, who loved cereal and cartoons, into a young man.

I know that George will be back again, and in the scope of things, relatively soon. But it will all be different then. He will have changed even more. College and moving away just does that to you. As it should. I wonder what our new mornings will look like when he returns? I'm sure he will be even more mature. More worldly. More wise. But no matter how much life changes him, or how much he ages, he will always wake up and be my little boy.

Well, I hope you all start the day with someone you love!!!

Letting go (and crying AGAIN) …

It's getting close. REAL close. George's college move-in date is just next week. Again, this whole process is absolutely exciting and also utterly heartbreaking. How I view HOME is going to, once again, change. It is a change that does not come easily or without pain. At least not for me.

I have always had a great relationship with George. Conversations come easy. We are close. He knows how much I love him and how much I want for him. I couldn't be prouder of the man he has become. He is ready to take on the world. He knows that I believe that he has what it takes to achieve all
of his goals and more. To put it simply, we have talked it all out.

But there is one conversion I had not had with George yet. At least not until yesterday. And boy, it was a DOOZY.

Yesterday Facebook memories reminded me that I had the same conversation with Sidney two years ago just before she left for college. It was to date, the most painful and difficult conversation I had ever had as a parent. But it had to be done … for her. I had planned on having the same conversation with George this week so I decided that yesterday was as good a day as any to have it. Yes, I decided that yesterday was going to be THAT day, and I gave myself permission not to like any of it.

So yesterday I had, for the second time in my life, the hardest most difficult conversation I have ever had with my child. I looked at George and I told him that no matter where life took him, wherever I was, he would always have a home with me. That he would be welcomed back, loved, and cared for. And then I took a big breath, held back my tears (not very well) and told him that it was also OK if he chose to just make his return home a pit stop. Temporary. Short. Brief. I told him that if his life and his dreams lead him on long or frequent travels to far away places, that I would understand. I told him to enjoy every second of his journeys. To truly LIVE and LEARN. To explore the world and find where he fits. And most importantly, I told him to take chances because great things didn't happen to people who always played it "safe". And then I explained to him why, despite all the heartache, I felt this way. I told him that my love for him has allowed me to find great joy in knowing that he is chasing his dreams and becoming the man he has envisioned … even if all of it takes him away from me.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you let go!!!

It stung a little …

Today we officially began packing George up for college. It was a fun day but there was a certain pang of pain that didn't go unnoticed.

Well, I hope you all had a day that didn't sting a little!!!

K-Cups and some tears …

We all drink different coffees in the house, which is why I feel that the Keurig is just about the best invention ever made for a busy family of coffee drinkers. We use that thing of beauty ALL day long. So you could image that yesterday when I found K-cups on sale for $5.99 a box I got quite excited. I even found my son George’s favorite, Starbucks Italian Roast. We have actually had a hard time finding it lately so I bought three boxes, one for home and two to pack in his things for college. I did all this without really thinking about it. Until this morning. And the it hit me hard. REAL hard.

I woke up early this morning and decided to make a big breakfast for my family. As I was busy preparing things I decided to stop and stock our K-Cup holder. I started with George’s Italian Roast … and I began to cry. The box contained just enough K-Cups to get him through until the day he leaves for college. Oh, yeah. I cried.

It’s moments like these that I question my sanity. How can K-Cups reduce a grown woman to tears? Clearly this can’t be even remotely normal! I ultimately calmed my insanity worries by remembering that a mother’s love knows no boundaries. This love is THE REAL DEAL. We love over time. Across the miles. Through joy and laughter. And in sadness and tears. We LOVE a BIG love. It’s shocking when you first experience it too. I believe that prior to having children women can only fathom this love. They know it will be strong and forever. But HOLY MOLY, when that baby becomes your reality, you are CONSUMED with a love you have never known. Understatedly, it’s wonderful. And once you have experienced this MOM LOVE you wouldn’t know what to do without it … because that love seeps into EVERY aspect of your being. Even into your morning coffee.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you share a cup of coffee with someone who gave you the gift of love!!!

One of my most favorite people in the world …

Today is my son George’s birthday. His birth feels like it was yesterday. I remember at the end of the day, when all of our visitors had left the hospital, and it was just he and I. I held him in my arms and looked at his darling little face. I said his name out loud. George Alexander Henry, III. It was a very big name for such a tiny baby. My eyes filled with tears as I was suddenly overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising my son to be the man I so desperately wanted him to become. Strong but not aggressive. Brilliant but not arrogant. Kind. Good. Compassionate. Selfless. A true GENTLE-man. Well, now we are HERE on his 18th Birthday. He made the journey from that hospital room to this day, easy. He has grown into a wonderful young man with every quality I had hoped for, and more. George’s loving nature, his loyalty and his humor are my favorite qualities that he possesses. I treasure our relationship and all our long talks. He makes the worries that I felt, all those years ago, seem foolish now. He is ready to take on the world and I simply can’t wait to watch him chase his dreams … but no matter how tall he grows, how old he becomes or where his successes take him, he will always be my precious baby boy.

Happy 18th Birthday George! You are a joy! I love you with all of my heart and I couldn’t be prouder of the man you are today!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate one of your most favorite people in the world!!!

Proud … 

If I had to describe this past school year I would describe it as CHALLENGING. It started off as any other year had … and then craziness ensued. Getting sick is one of the most selfish things I could have ever done to my kids, my family and my friends. It derailed all of us.

Do I really believe it was my fault?

No. Of course not. But I still feel a tremendous sense of guilt especially when it comes to my kids. They needed me and there were days when I could hardly lift my head. My heart broke each time I couldn’t do something for them. I was angry when they had to struggle without me. They had to step it up and do so much on their own. Things that I normally would do for them or with them. They missed out on our talks. Moments that they used to deflate from their day or share their excitements. They handled stress and problems without me. Again. It broke me.

Today my son George graduates from high school. Goodness I love this kid of mine! He is gentle, kind, compassionate and brilliant. And throughout this past school year he grew into so much more. He matured naturally but also because he had to. He didn’t fight it. He never acted out. He wasn’t bitter. He just went with it. He helped so much. He took on so much. And he accomplished so much. As painful (and wonderful) as it is to admit this, my baby boy grew up in what seems like a few short months. He had to.

Today feels surreal. I want to cry because it’s over and cry from a sense of relief. This was a tough school year but George did it. He finished despite the curve balls life threw at us. And he somehow managed to thrive.

If we are lucky, as parents, sometimes we get a glimpse of reassurance that our kids are READY to take on the world. They get it. They can do this. Those moments when we see clearly that they are exactly what God meant them to be in this time and in this place. I gratefully had many of these moments this school year. They came as a result of time and nature but also out of pain and need. I don’t believe anything happens by chance so I cannot look back on this school year bitterly. All the events that unfolded have delivered us to this day. My baby boy’s graduation day. He got here precisely how he needed to and in a way that has left him better and more capable. What an amazing young man he has become. Indeed.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are proud!!!