"Hey, Jared? Jared?" I call through the bathroom door in my weak, raspy voice. Whatever illness I contracted on Thursday settled into my throat last night and destroyed most of my voice. "You might want to consider taking DayQuil before you go. And take some water and snacks. Oh, and your Albuterol." He, too, has been sick, longer than I have been, and I'm worried that his coughing will affect his concentration.
He opens the door a crack and looks at me in that "Oh, Mom" kind of way that each child seems to master upon becoming a teenager, but he graciously says, "Okay," before he closes the door again.
He's up early for a Saturday, but with good reason. Today my son takes the SAT.
Truthfully, I'm excited for him. And nervous. And a little sad. Where did my little boy go? Pictures of him as a child keep flashing in my head. My happy little boy. In front of me, however, stands a handsome, almost-grown young man. (Almost. Trust me, we still have a ways to go.) It seems like this day came about so quickly, more quickly than I am comfortable with.
As parents, this is one of those days we work toward. Our whole job is to prepare our children to leave us, to find their own paths, and set out into the world. I recognized years ago that my children were not mine, I was theirs. They are not here to satisfy our needs, we are here to satisfy theirs. It is our job to love and nurture, to educate and discipline, and to ultimately push them out of the nest and say, "Fly, be free." We hope, if we've done our jobs right, that their wings will be strong and will take them where they want to go. And we pray that wherever their journeys take them, they will always find their way back home.
I am not ready, though, to contemplate an empty nest. I can't imagine this house without my son's daily presence. So, we will take this one step at a time and celebrate each milestone, pretending that it doesn't ultimately lead somewhere I'm not entirely sure I want to go.
"Do you have everything you need? Your admission ticket, your driver's license, your pencils?" I ask as Jared enters the kitchen where I secretly blog about our morning.
"Yes," he responds, holding his ticket and pencils up for me to see. "And my calculator."
"Okay. What about water and a snack? You're not going to be done until around 1:00, since you're doing the essay."
"I'll be fine," he says as he walks out of the kitchen and heads towards the door.
"Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad. Thank you for bringing me to this point. I love you."
I laugh because it's my husband who says this not my son. I'm sure Jared is thinking it though.
"Bye," he calls out from the other room. Then I hear the front door close. He is on his way.