New Steps

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"Alexander James Blackstock. Born April 12, 1993"There have been lots of phone calls back and forth with my son this month. By “lots” I mean two or three.

This is a torrent of communication compared to the previous year’s trickle of short calls and occasional texts. Like most young people, he hates talking on the phone. And like a lot of young men in their 20s, he’s not a fan of chitchatting with his mommy.

Still, I’ll take what I can get and be grateful for it. As a child he was my fun, inquisitive one. He had a face as a preschooler that made the old ladies in the grocery store prepare to pinch some cheeks. After garnering much attention during a visit to our public library, he asked me “Why am I so darn cute?” But he knew the answer to that one already.

One of my saddest moments as a parent was walking him to his classroom and having him shake off my hand. Before that, he’d always made it a point to hold my hand to escort me from the car to his classroom door. He was a tiny gentleman with courtly manners, pleased to be close to me.

Anne-Alex-graduation-2010Our recent phone calls have been about his job search. The market is bad where he lives for young men not out of college yet. He wants to work in his field, ready to do grunt work there rather than work a traditional student job in food service.

“Just come back here. You don’t have to live at home. You have friends you can share an apartment with.”

“Mom,” he says, “I really want to do this on my own.”

The biggest lesson of parenting is letting go, realizing they have dreams of their own and their own way of doing things. They are only wholly ours for the shortest time.

Enjoy that. Soak that in. As soon as they can walk, they are walking away. And that is how it should be.

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