As you all can tell if you read this blog, I’m not doing too well at keeping up. Last year, I was hopeful that I could give this some attention and be a resource for some of the moms of boys that I meet not only around the country at events, but the “members of the boymama club” that I recognize in the park or in the grocery store.
But, due to many factors in my life the past 5 months or so, I have really dropped the ball. I also had a big transition going on with my youngest son, Benji that I couldn’t share publicly until his band was announced and had their official launch party. Since that was last week, my “gag order” is now expired! I’ll be sharing more about this part of our journey next week.
But, that’s not what I want to write about today… this is a quick post for moms of SENIOR boys.
I know you’re already exhausted and are either in the middle of preparations for graduation or you’re just trying to remember your name after all the hoopla last weekend!
Regardless of where you are in the “May Madness”, take a breath for a couple minutes. Rest in the fact that you have given your son everything you have to be a successful human being. Yes, you’ve made mistakes, but you’ve just crossed a major finish line and deserve a huge pat on the back! If you still have a party to throw or lunch to cook for 50 relatives, “hang in there” and know that at the end of the day, making sure your son feels celebrated (and whether or not you’re stressed out) that day is more important than the college water bottle labels being perfect or the personalized cupcakes you’ve made or ordered.
Some of you may feel like a zombie because this year has been a painful one as your son has pushed so hard in his attempts to “get ready to launch” that he’s bruised your heart and crushed parts of it that you didn’t even realize he could. Or maybe, like some Mamas I know, you’re secretly grateful (and ashamed) that he’s about to go because you’re “rung out” from a tough year of navigating life with him.
I know that my last year with Graham was the hardest one we EVER had! He turned 18 in May before his Senior year and thought he was a ‘full grown man who didn’t need a mama interfering in his life or decisions’. It was so bad that I almost kicked him out of the house before he left for college. He apologized to me soon after (his vision cleared when he was thousands of miles away at school enduring his first summer preparing to play college football) and we’ve healed from that difficult year. We both have some scars that remind us it was not a ‘bad dream’, but actually part of our journey as mother and son. If this is you… please hear me say, “this is not the end of your story with your son!“. I was broken-hearted and didn’t know if I could recover from the pain of that year, but I did. I now have a great relationship today with my son who’s turning 22 tomorrow! I’ve also been able to let go of my boys in a more purposeful way in the past 4 years as a result of what I began to learn that year.
David Thomas, author of Wild Things and DayStar Counseling in Nashville, has been a huge part of my journey with my sons helped me understand that it’s necessary for boys development to want to get out from under their parents roof. That as a 17 or 18 year old, it’s critical that he separates and feels the desire to go out on his own into the world. Sometimes, in order to do that, they push really hard… especially against the one holding on the tightest.
So, my advice here is pretty simple…. “Lean in” to the reality that he wants to go and that’s a good thing. If you need a reminder of the alternative, check out the movie “Failure to Launch“. While as Mamas, we may not want our kids to go, that’s the goal we’ve been working towards since their birth. Remember, we want them to go out into the world and be a functioning adult. We want our sons to make their own path and become the best version of himself! Also, be aware that his heart is full of mixed emotions of being “ready to go” and “scared to death“! He’s probably been operating on very little sleep with all the hoopla and is running on a low tank of emotional fuel, so give him some grace when he snaps at you. I’m sure you’re tired too, so try to take care of yourself and ask for help from your husband, family and friends.
Enjoy these days as much as you can! Celebrating HIM with joy is truly the best gift you can give him. How he feels when he’s in the kitchen with you or in the car riding home from an event will be what his memories are made of twenty years from now. Be patient if he wants you to wait while he takes 1000 pictures with his friends, or back off if he only wants you to take a few. I promise he won’t care so much about all the Pintrest projects, but he will care that you recognized he was becoming a man and you let him go with as much grace as you could muster while loving him with all of your heart!
If I had a graduation cap to throw in your honor, I’d do it right now!
Bravo BoyMamas! Much love and peace from here.