18 days and 22 years

My son has gone back east with his best friend for three weeks.  It is the third year he has made the trip and he truly loves it.  They hang out at the lake, play tennis, go hiking, see movies, and have a classic all American summer experience.  Today marks 18 days until I see him.

When he leaves the lake he will meet me in Canada and we will spend a week with my family.  It has been three years since I’ve been home and I am excited to be with my brother, sisters, mother, nieces and nephews. I am counting down the days.  By days of course I mean minutes.

I love my family and it makes me sad we live so far apart.  My son being away is hard and I wonder how it must be for my mother who has had four children grow up and move out.  I find myself sitting in my son’s room and remembering every minute I have been blessed to be his mom.

Today marks not only 18 days until I see him, but also the 22nd birthday of the Englishman’s oldest daughter.  She is remarkable young woman and she inspires me.  She is going to graduate from university this December and her entire life is ahead of her.  It is a very special time.

I have a lot in common with this young woman and I find myself smiling when she speaks of her future.  She is making plans and dreaming big.  I am excited for her and spending time with her reminds me of what my life was like at 22.  It is a defining time in that a future is being developed.  You know what you want but have no idea how to get it.

She is happy, hopeful, unsure, aware, funny, kind, smart, sweet, naïve, and very sophisticated.  She is everything a young woman should be at 22 and I want for her all the things she wants for herself, plus more.  She is a wonderful human being and I love her dad more through her.

Being away from my son has given me a look into what life will be like when he goes to university.  I keep my phone in my hand all the time should he call.  I miss him so much that there are days when I feel like my heart is aching.  I am also proud of his independence.

I have raised this child to go out into the world and conquer it, but I wish he could conquer it closer to home and be here for dinner at the end of each day.  I take great comfort in seeing how terrific the Englishman’s daughter is and the relationship they have even though she is an adult.

I think ahead to when they have their own families and it is beautiful.  We have three children between us and they are independently marvelous people, but together they are truly divine.  As my baby grows up I don’t feel like I am losing him as much as I am gaining a family.

I have been alone and in relationships during my time as a mother, and for the first time in his life, I feel like I am going to be okay.  I have survived many things over the years and while I don’t consider myself a survivor, I am a fighter.  I have fought hard to get to this place in my life.

I am learning to trust myself, trust others, and allow myself to be happy.  I never needed a man in my life, but I wanted one and that want guided me to make decisions that led to unhappiness, but also gave me clarity about what it is that I want for my child and myself.  I want peace.

I am in a relationship with a man who makes me think, laugh, hope and dream. I am learning to relax and not worry so much.  I am counting down the 18 days not as time I will be sad until I see my boy, but rather days of joy that he is experiencing.  I never thought I would get to this place.

To this wonderful woman, Happy Birthday! I am blessed to have you in my life and lucky to count you among my friends.  You are a special person and you are going to change the world one day.  I am excited to see all the things you will do and all the places you will go.

To my son, you are a blessing.  Thank you for loving me with an open heart.  I am proud of you and want you to know I am okay.  I miss you, but you don’t need to worry about anything but being safe and having a fabulous time.  Squeeze all the joy out of your vacation.

To my Englishman, thank you.  For all the things you know I am talking about, and for all the things you will never know.  You are an amazing father and you have raised remarkable children.  I am enjoying my life in a way I never thought I could because of you, and that is a true surprise.

In the end we can’t rely on other people to make us happy.  We must be able to be happy on our own, and when we get to that place is when we are able to surround ourselves with people who make happiness greater.  For these 18 days and 22 years I am grateful and keeping the faith.