Ready or Not

I now have an eighteen year old.

I have an eighteen year old.

My son is eighteen years old.

It doesn't matter how I say it or how many times I repeat it, nothing about that sentence makes any sense to my brain.  But, it's happening.  Happened already.  He's eighteen years old.

One of hardest parts is facing the fact that I'm actually old enough to have an eighteen year old.  I vividly remember turning eighteen, being eighteen, loving eighteen.  Eighteen is when I spent two months in Peru, moved to college, met my husband, and started doing grown-up things like voting, buying my license plate tags, and eating salad.  It's the year my parents moved across the nation, and I had to find my own place to live when school let out.  The year I got a real job.  The year I looked into the face of a man who wasn't too much older than me and said yes when he held out a ring with hope in his eyes.

And all of those things are here, waiting for my own child who isn't a child any more.  All of those experiences, those decisions, those learning curves, they are all lined up like mile markers in front of him because he is eighteen years old.  My son is eighteen years old.  

And I know it's not like his life is just beginning.  It's not that he's at mile one.  He's had eighteen years worth of mile markers to prepare him for this.

The first step.  The first word.  The first french fry, which I distinctly remember celebrating.  The first day of school.  The day he decided to follow Jesus.  The first week-long youth camp.  The first time he knew more math than I did, which happened closer to the french fry than the youth camp.  The first crush.  The first time he pulled out of the driveway on his own. 

They all got us here, to eighteen.  And they all made him ready to move forward.  To vote, move to college, meet someone special, eat salad.

I'm just not sure they've done anything to make me ready.

And yet, it doesn't matter.  The eighteen year old mile markers are here if I'm ready or not.  And all I know to do is the one thing I know I've learned being a mom.  I pray.  

I pray that the God who walked me through my own mile markers will hold the hand of my son and lead him through every one of life's experiences that will start coming faster and faster in this new season.  

I pray he will have courage to make the tough choices in a way that honors the God he loves.

And I pray that the God who gave me this child to begin with will hold my heart when the man he has become walks away from me.  

I pray I will have the courage to cheer him on from a distance as he faces the mile markers that don't require me to be beside him anymore.

My son is eighteen years old.