It's for real. My baby is now a registered college freshman at Texas State, with his fall classes all lined out, his dorm assignment in hand, and his mother's emotions all "a-flutter."
It's weird sometimes how things don't go like you anticipate. I thought I had each of my boys figured out. You know, had their personalities down to a T. And most of the time I do.
And then there's those times - like this week - when it's apparent that I don't know as much as I thought I did.
Jorge, unlike his brother, has always been my independent one. He preferred to figure Lego diagrams out on his own rather than accept help.
He was the one who ignored skinned knees and bloody scrapes and climbed onto his little green bike again and again....and again...until at last he conquered the mystery of balancing without training wheels - and without parental help.
He is the one who has known for years what he planned to do with his life, and he's never waivered from it. It isn't something that he speaks a lot about, but his goals are sure and unwavering. He knows what he wants and he's willing to do the work to get there.
He is the one who has spoken so calmly and matter-of-factly about his upcoming transition to college life. Never for one second did I think he would ever have second thoughts, or anxiety, or just plain 'ol uncertainty about this phase of his life.
So imagine my surprise when I receive a call from him late on Monday night. We had split into our different sessions at eleven that morning and I'd not seen him since then. I was staying in a nearby motel and he was staying in a dorm on campus.
"Hey." His voice was low and husky when I answered.
"Hey." I felt my insides quaver just a bit as I tried to decipher this new sound in his tone. "You okay?"
"Sure." He paused and I waited. "But listen, I was just reading over our schedule for tomorrow and I noticed that parents can join us for breakfast. So I was wondering if you could meet me here at 6:45 in the morning?"
"I'll be there." I had to hold back tears as I gave my word. I felt so many things in that one, precious moment. Pride. Protectiveness. Joy. Fear. Hesitation. More pride. More joy. It was that wonderful, indescribable tug-of-war that we moms must endure as our children grow up and learn to navigate the world all on their own.
It's essential that they learn to do it.
It's equally essential that we LET them do it.
But Jorge confirmed for me the one thing I needed to have confirmed in that precious phone call.
He's still my boy.
I'm still his mama.
And it doesn't matter if he's eighteen, or twenty-eight, or forty-eight - when he calls me and asks me to meet him for breakfast at 6:45 in the morning - I'll be there.
In the meantime, it looks as though I'm now not only a BearKat mama, but also a Bobcat mama. How will I ever keep it all straight...?