My oldest son is graduating from high school tomorrow. Tonight is Baccalaureate Mass. The feelings that have arisen in me are perplexing. I am not quite sure how I feel, how to feel, or how I should feel. It always felt like this day was one of those events that would never arrive. I felt like I had all the time in the world to spend with him as my little boy, taking him to karate and t-ball games, reading his favorite stories to him and having him read them to me. Now he is a man, and I am so lost.
My identity for the past eighteen years has been first and foremost as his mother. Every year on his birthday, I tell him the story of the day he was born. I tell him how he made my dream of being a mom come true. I held him in my arms and kissed every bit of his little face. The first thing I saw was his big dimples on each of his sweet little cheeks. I tell him of nights sleeping in the recliner with him snuggled on my chest and how I would place my hand on his chest to make certain of every one of his breaths. I loved him from the moment I knew he was growing inside me. Our nightly prayers closed “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” These first moments have defined me.
I took him to his first day of kindergarten. I kissed and hugged him goodbye and he smiled ear to ear. I smiled and waved back at him. I went back to my minivan, sat there for a few moments and cried. I did not know what to do with myself if I did not have him to take care of. I suppose I am feeling quite the same way right now.
I have had the pleasure of spending every day of the last four years with him—two of which were as his teacher. I know all his friends and I have gotten to know him in a different light than just simply as my son. I have found him to be charming and genuine, and I am honored to be his mom.
He will leave for college in three months. I am excited and saddened at the same time. I have raised him to be a man, to have an adventure, to be who God has meant for him to be. This is His will. My boy prayed and prayed about where he was to go to school and what God’s will was for him. So he will be nine hours away from me, and that is okay. He will be at an amazing Catholic university where I know he will grow into that man God wants him to be and that is more than okay.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
The entirety of my son’s life can been summed up in that one Bible verse. I now realize what an enormous blessing God bestowed upon me when He made me mother to this amazing young man. I hope I did, and continue to do, what I was called to. I pray every day while I continue into another chapter of motherhood.
Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.