We're stuck between two worlds, he and I. My sixteen-year-old son has one foot creeping into the land of being an adult and one still firmly planted in the world of being a kid. The former 8lb. 3 oz. bundle of my purpose in life is now an almost-man whose five o'clock shadow grazes me as he kisses my cheek and says, "Good night, Mommy." He discusses scripture with a soberness of mind and purity of heart that almost erases his age from my awareness--at least until the word "duty" wanders into the conversation, and he giggles, reminding me that he is not yet above laughing over a bathroom-related pun.
I, too, feel torn because as he ventures into his own life, separate from mine, I feel my own existence enlarged just by vicariously experiencing the territory he explores. At the same time, he begins to mark boundaries and move far enough away that I cannot--and I should not--go with him. As he does, I feel him take little pieces of me with him, pieces that I freely send so he will always remember what I have taught him, or at least what I hope I have taught him, but pieces of me are missing nonetheless.
Today I got a vision of what our future will be. The family piled into the car, and we drove to Arkadelphia for Alex to receive his patriarchal blessing. As his mother, I have spent every day with him trying to help him discover his God-given talents and his purpose in this life. Hearing what the Lord had to say on the matter confirmed some wonderful things I already suspected about this equally wonderful boy, but it also proved to me that I could never have imagined the kind of blessings Heavenly Father has planned for him--for any of us, for that matter. The blessing spoke of Alex's future as a missionary, a husband, a father, and simply as a man of God. As I imagined my son growing into his future, I felt him slip away just a little. Then when the blessing was over, he gave me a big hug, and I smiled. Later, I cried.
I have a feeling this pattern will become familiar in the coming years.