This time 17 years ago, I was trying to figure out how I was going to survive the heat of the coming summer while pregnant. I was awaiting the birth of a baby that I had longed for and thought I would never have. I had already buried two babies and could not wrap my head around the fact that everything seemed to be going well this time. I had no idea if we would be the parents of a son or daughter. I was struggling with my blood pressure but was willing to do whatever I had to do to bring this baby home from the hospital. In September, I gave birth to a beautiful blue-eyed, blond-haired, and precious baby boy. We named him Austin and I fell immediately in love. My heart was as full of love as it had ever been. I decided to make Austin my career...literally. 2½ years later we had our daughter. They have been what I have wrapped my life around ever since.
A few minutes ago, I hugged that sweet boy as he got in the car with his best friend and his best friend's mom to head out on a 10 day trip to the other side of the country. I am thrilled that he has the opportunity and I look forward to hearing all about the trip, but that is my baby (even if he is 16). I miss him already. He can make me laugh more than anyone else. He has been my buddy for all these years and I wish we were making this trip together. He has never been away from home for this long. He has never flown anywhere on a jet. He has never been more than 400 miles from home. He is going to have a lot of "firsts" in the next ten days.
As I sit here with all these mixed emotions, I realize that a day is coming when he will not live here and will have his own life elsewhere. I am not certain that I am ready for that day. Today has been hard enough. I also know that this has been my job description all along...raising them to be independent. As much as I miss him, this is a process. This is God's way to prepare me for the day when he leaves home. My prayer is that he has a great time on his trip, but for now, I am glad this is where he will return to. I am enjoying every single day with my children at home because the day is coming when they will not be.