Packing for china...easy. Turning 40...easy. Walking on hot coals...easy. Having your oldest son turn 18...NOT EASY!!
As I've said before, many times before, I don't mind aging. I like it. For me and for other people. As long as it's not my own children! It's always a little painful for me when they have birthdays. A little melancholy, a little pang of reluctance, considering that they are one step closer to leaving me. When they were infants, at least with the last few, I shed tears at the most miniscule of milestones. Sometimes they looked older in the morning than they had the night before. Tears. Or they'd grow out of their newborn sized clothes. Tears. I was losing my babies and I knew it, and I didn't like it.
Eventually, the babies were gone and I was sad. But I had these great new "kids." They were funny and talkative. I finally got to hear what I had wondered about for so long: what they were thinking. They could dress themselves. They didn't wear diapers. It wasn't entirely devastating.
Those bookend kids, though, they give me the most heartache. When Andie turns 5, 8, 10, it smarts! I don't like it. When I see the last of them moving forward I find myself wishing I could turn back time.
But watching my oldest is usually more fun. It's all the firsts; first step, first lost tooth, first day of school, first teenager, first driver/dater; those things are not only firsts for him, but for me, too. So it's exciting new territory. Fun to be in on and to watch.
So I was caught a little off guard when, the night before Tanner's 18th birthday, I started to panic. No! I'm not ready! Waaaaaiiiiiit!!!!! Just wait a little while, k? Just until I can get ready for this. We're not in any hurry, right? Heh, heh. *Sweat droplets on forehead.* You don't need to do this. Think about what you're doing, Tanner. You don't need to do this! Don't do it! DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!
Okay, I was kidding about the sweat droplets, but I really did say that, or something to that effect. And by the time I finished, tears were streaming down my face. I was laughing, though, and smiling, but also crying. Tanner got a kick out of it and egged me on with, "No, I'm doing it! I'm totally doing it! This is the last time you'll ever see me as a non-adult. When you see me in the morning, I'll be an adult! So goodbye -- for - ever!" He was joking around, but a part of me was feeling denial/sadness/regret/PANIC!
Knowing what an incredible person he is eases the pain somewhat. But he was my incredible person, and now he's his own incredible person. Well, he's still mine, but not in the same way. Here's how incredible he is: at his birthday dinner he told the kids who were telling me how I couldn't boss Tanner around anymore, "Just because I'm 18, that doesn't mean I don't still need to respect my parents." I know, weird. But he said that. That's the kind of person he is. Respectful, kind, good, honest, trustworthy. He's also very funny, and super-smart, and smoooooth; joe cool. I could tell you stories to prove my claims, but I'd need a lot longer than one blog entry. I can say, however, that I don't know of anyone who doesn't love Tanner. And I know lots of people who adore him. He's pretty great He'll be a great...oh...uh...um...eew...ungh...man.
There! I said it! Ouch. That stings.
Yeah, well, at least he doesn't wear diapers anymore, so, you know, I'm cool with it. I'm fine. No problem...