Things are changing around here again. My heart muscles are being stretched and strengthened and expanded. I realize that no matter where my kids go, I will always be their mommy. Stupid realization I know, but when I was younger I actually thought there would come a point when it would be easier to be a mom. Like a goal, an endpoint I could reach for, but now I know I was clueless.

As Tony has blazed this new trail for us as parents, Josh and I have quickly reached a few conclusions:

1) We cry when he leaves for school.
2) We cry when he surprises us by coming home.
3) There is not a day that goes by that his absence is not felt.

That's just the way it is. He is no longer in our direct gaze, but he's always out there on the edge of our peripheral vision. We are adjusting to this new relationship with our son gradually. A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of going on a cruise with Tony, just the three of us along with some friends that Josh performed a wedding for. We shared a cabin on the ship and when we disembarked in Nassau, I noticed it. As a mommy of many, when we go anywhere together I find myself constantly counting the kids to make sure everybody's with us. Here we were and I kept looking around to make sure Tony was safe and still close. He was running all over the place snapping pictures, standing in the middle of the road, hanging off a bridge, lingering behind us in alleys, all the scary things I taught him not to do!

I had to remind myself, "He's a big boy now." I followed behind him noting his broad shoulders and man gait and it hit me: I grew up a man! To me he will always be my baby, but he's a grown man now embarking on his own life. The challenge is no longer to train him to grow up to be good, that goal has been reached. Now, we three, Joshua, Tony and I, must learn to regard each other in a different light. That's where the challenge is to remember that we are no longer training, and we are now free to enjoy him as a friend.


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