My son turned 18 yesterday.
It was around 11:30 p.m. that the doctor said we would be celebrating his birthday on May 16.
I wasn’t have any of that next day stuff. After a few pushes, he entered the world on May 15, a few minutes before midnight. A month and a half before his due date.
He is stubborn like his mother.
From the beginning, he was setting his own schedule and interrupting any plans I had for a normal pregnancy and delivery.
When he finally came home from the hospital, he weighed a little over 5 pounds. I kept him tucked in the crook of my arm like a football.
I assumed he would speak the same language that my dad, my brother and I speak: sports. He doesn’t.
He doesn’t speak books or movies or superheroes or any of my other languages.
He speaks his own, a mix of technology and disdain for everything I like.
He has always been a difficult child. Insisting on paving his own path and refusing to conform to the most basic of rules. He wears shorts in the winter. Says the sky is green. Eats soup from a plate.
I get frustrated. I use the word “normal” more than I want to and then hate myself for doing so. I often worry about what other people will think. When I step back, I can see I am recreating my own childhood.
W always tells me we are supposed to learn from our children. That we can find healing in the parent-child relationship.
I never really understood this.
I have a quote taped to the front of my printer. “Be who you needed when you were younger,” it says.
It reminds me to keep reaching out to young people to tell my story so they can be comfortable with their own.
I wonder if the answer has been there all along.
“Be who you needed when you were younger.”
Maybe I’m supposed to parent my son the way I needed to be parented. Accepting him as he is.
Maybe that’s what finally sets me free.