Today is my younger son’s birthday, Elliot is 25 years old today. He lives a couple of hours away and came home last weekend to celebrate with us, because let’s face it, at 25, you really want to celebrate with your friends, not your parents. I understand this and totally support whatever Elliot wants, because I have always wanted to be a cool parent, one who puts my kids’ needs ahead of my own.
I was cool when I allowed Elliot to choose to go to private boarding school for high school because that’s what he wanted to do. I understood that he had been to a small K-8 parochial school and had the same few friends all those years and needed to spread his wings. I understood that he didn’t know anyone in our town who would be going to the perfectly fine local public high school, and there wasn’t much going on around our house. Elliot wanted boarding school and I wanted that for him, although anyone who knew me when he left knew how painful it was to let him go.
Elliot made noise about going across country for college but chose a school a couple of hours away instead. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing how hard it would be to let him go so far away, while knowing I definitely would support that decision. I think we saw him more while he was at college than when he was in high school and enjoyed every minute. He graduated and soon found a job (in his field!) a few hours away and I was thrilled for him and for us.
It is incredible to believe that this boy, whom I still remember bringing home from the hospital, is now 25 years old, a quarter of a century, as he points out. I know this is a big deal from his perspective, since one of the young men at work who is also 25 uses that same language to describe how truly “old” he is. Meanwhile, I remember our first Thanksgiving with Elliot, looking at him barely one month old in the bassinet, wishing he could stay that small.
Although I would never impose myself on him, I had requested this day off from work in case we were to spend his birthday with him. I truly don’t mind that we didn’t; I am happy to hear how happy he is and how he is enjoying the plans his friends have made for him. What he doesn’t know, and won’t until he has his own children, is that his birthday is really a special day for us, his parents. It’s a celebration of one of the best days of my life as his mother. He can’t know how much I wanted and longed for him, what a dream come true it was to have him. But I’m happy to remember and celebrate that even if we are apart.
Happy Birthday Elliot! XOXOXO