So, Elder is graduating in three weeks. I just counted. I shouldn’t have done that.
And we have been trying to convince him that he actually needs to involve himself in the college process. He has proven successfully resistant, even though he will be attending Mizzou with Big Guy, his best friend since grade school.
So, last week, he and I had fallen into a common recent argument…
“We have to finish choosing your residence hall, Elder,” I insisted, my voice rising. “So, you need to take the math placement test.”
“I know. I will.” He shoved his nose deeper into his book. “Just not tonight.”
“No, Elder,” I kept at him. “You can’t just keep waiting. You can’t just keep expecting us to do the work for you. And you have to take the math test before we can finish the contract. Big Guy has finished everything. Are his parents having to do all of the steps for him?”
“No,” Elder shouted, jerking onto his feet to pace towards the door. “No, because Big Guy is ready to get out. I’m not ready to get out.”
“Oh.” Suddenly subdued, I gazed at the young man glaring at me from his impressive height. “Well.” I offered him a smile. “I love you, too, Elder.”
But he wasn’t prepared to back down too quickly. “Sometimes I think I’m about ready to get out.” He shoved his fists onto his hips. I just continued to smile at him. His shoulders slumping, he returned to the sofa, accepting the laptop I handed him. “The other kids are just ready to get out.”
“I wish you could stay forever, Elder,” I told him, quietly. “But I know you have to leave.”
I cupped the back of his head in my palm, leaning towards him to press a kiss against his curly blonde hair. “Stop,” he said, faking sourness. “I’m still not happy.”
But one corner of his mouth lifted slightly.
Sometimes, we forget, us parents. We forget. Life is hard, even at the age of eighteen. Change is hard, even at the age of eighteen. Leaving is hard.
Even at the age of eighteen.
And letting go is hard.
Even at the age of forty-two.