My son left for university last week. It was very emotional on so many levels, representing the closing of one chapter of life and the beginning of another. After he left with his mum, he sent me a note. I will not quote it verbatim, but essentially Ben thanked me being there and giving him everything he could have asked for throughout the entire time we have known each other, and for taking on my role with him wholeheartedly. “You’re a great guy,” he said “and you will always be a welcome face in my life, whatever my role may become in the future.”
I know in my heart of hearts that I have given parenthood everything I have, but I was very touched to read these words. Brief, but so very poignant and powerful. And then I wept. But these were tears of joy, hope, and accomplishment for a change.
But the truth is, I feel like the lucky one to have had him in my life for the past nine years. It has forced me to dig really deep–emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Difficult and frustrating at times, to be sure, but he has helped me push beyond where I never thought I could go. Bringing me face to face with all sorts of issues. Raising him has forced me to try to filter out all the crap, and pass on only the good stuff. Ben has brought life and richness and insight to my life that I could not ever have imagined. I haven’t always had all the tools, but I know I have done the very best I can, and I always have done what is in his best interest.
I think about what an exciting time this is for him. The wind is at his back. His life is a big empty canvas laid out in front of him, his to create whatever he chooses. At times, I have felt that there might not be much room left on my own canvas, but he reminds me that that is not so–it is a state of mind and heart that I have created through the accumulation of all kinds of psychological debris and emotionally clogged filters.
And although he may not see it, I can see so clearly that he has what it takes to take on anything he wants. He is very advanced for his young years, grappling and mastering life concepts and skills that I am only starting to glimpse. He is a very good, mature, and wise soul.
And despite other difficult areas of my life that I am struggling with, when it comes to Ben, I am so proud of who he has become. And I am so very proud to have had the opportunity to have played a role in that.
I will close with a song he introduced me to just before he left: Wake Me Up by Avicci. A coming of age song that will always remind me of him.
Good luck as you make your way out into the world, Bennie and the Jets. Know that I will always be here when you need me, and that I will always be with you.