I think I'm going through a form of separation anxiety with my 18-year-old son. It's hard for both of us. He's not having any trouble becoming an adult ... what's hard for him is dealing with me.
I don't remember the first time I had separation anxiety as a baby. I'm sure I had it, since most babies do. I remember my own children sobbing as I left them in the nursery at church, or with a babysitter. Their little hearts were breaking as I walked away. Truthfully, mine was too. In their minds, I wasn't coming back. Finally, they learned to trust that I would return.
Oh, how the situation has changed.
My son is becoming an adult. He wants to make his own decisions. He doesn't want me to ask him if he's done his homework, or if he's getting enough sleep, or say things like, "Maybe you should shave" or "Please eat more vegetables and fruit."
He's in college now and living at home. Which is wonderful ... most of the time. He's leading a worship team at church, reads the Bible with his girlfriend, and is respectful and kind. But he wants to grow up. And this momma's heart is breaking.
I know all the right things to think and say. Really, I do. I know this is healthy. I'm so proud that he wants to work to support himself. I'm delighted he's in college.
I'm just being real here. It hurts that he doesn't need me in the same way he used to.
So I'm going through my own form of separation anxiety. I'm learning to withhold advice on the little things, and save it for what really matters. I'm learning to affirm his choices, without following it up with advice on how to something better. I'm learning to set aside my desire to pout when he would rather be with his girlfriend. I'm learning to not try to make him feel guilty for wanting to be independent. I'm learning to be fully present when I do have a moment with him and not spoil it by overreacting based on emotion.
In other words, I'm growing up.
Healthy things grow, growing things change.
This applies to him ... and me.
Thanks for listening.