He turns eighteen next month, and I can’t believe how time has flown.

He’s become a man as I’ve blinked the years away, and I never thought the day would come where I wished he needed me more.

I remember holding his 3-month-old body in church, and praying he’d stay asleep in my arms.

I remember the first day he ate carrots from that tiny beech-nut jar, and can still clearly picture how he had no idea how to move them to the back of his mouth to swallow–how they dripped down his chin until my silicone-coated, blue baby spoon, scooped it all up and right back in again.

I can still see him running at five, and biking at eight, and how he never thought he’d master that skateboard at all. How he spent hours in our cul-de-sac practicing the flip, and how his face lit up when he finally made it work. I can still see that smile in my mind.

I remember that little old lady at church, telling me to savor each moment, because the time was going to fly by. And to be honest, I remember how I wanted to pinch her head off for saying it. But how I smiled, and thanked her for her words anyway–convinced she’d forgotten the work it is to mother young boys, or perhaps had edited the hard or traumatic stuff right out of her mind.

As a mother of a young boy, I knew my days were long,  and I was sure they’d never fly by. [Tweet that]

I still remember the struggles through the math homework, the lessons learned from unkind kids, and the discipline that broke my heart in the many moments I had to follow through–oh how I had to follow through, time and time again.

But now, at almost eighteen, he’s so independent. He has opinions and desires of his own. He drives himself wherever He needs to go, and I’ve begun to wonder where I even fit anymore.

I know getting a driver’s license is supposed to be exciting, but for this mama it hasn’t been so. And not because he’s a bad driver, because he’s actually really good. But the thing is, I used to drive him everywhere. Car-time used to be our-time. But now, what used to be my only-time, is fading into no-time. And I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt.

It’s a relentless dull ache. And for me, has become a slow goodbye.

He’s become a man as I’ve blinked the years away, and I never thought the day would come where I wished he needed me more. I regret to admit that little old lady was right.

Yet even in this slow goodbye, I’m beginning to realize, the suffering is part of the gift.

[Tweet that]

God gave him to me as a gift that Christmas of 1995. And my gift to God was to love him well, and train him to love.

And in saying goodbye, the prize is almost here. This is what I’ve aimed for this whole time.

Through every meal.

Every conversation.

Every back rub.

Every moment.

The end of these times are giving birth to new kind of season.

A time of independence. Responsibility. Autonomy. And Manhood.

A time where we can still laugh, and eat, and play games. And a time where we can be friends. A time when I’ll give advice only when I’m asked, and be an advisor to help him love another woman well.

Even the pain can be a gift.

And although it hurts, God really is giving it as a gift.

Even if it doesn’t feel like a gift at all.

~Jacque Watkins   jacquewatkins.com

Have you launched a son into adulthood?

What advice would you give for this season?

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Remember to go enter this week’s Praying for Boys Giveaway Days and join the new 5-day challenge, Covering them From Head to Toe!