I’m going to be honest here. I still love you. Every single one of you holds a special place in my heart. I love the way you made me feel, and I love the love we shared. We had some amazing times, times that I’ll cherish forever.

But as much as it pains me, I’ve got to let you go

Because there’s a young man who needs my love now, maybe more than any of you ever did. And by holding on to you, I’m holding back from him.

I can’t hold back from him anymore.

So today I am going to say goodbye to you, one by one.

To the newborn boy who slept like a champ and smelled delicious, whose coos and sighs made my heart feel things I never knew possible, I’ll miss you.

To the toddler boy who loved me more than anything in the world, who used me as a jungle gym and wanted to be with my every second, to whom I said constantly, “I hope you always love me as much as you do right now,” {even though I knew you wouldn’t,} I know at times I’ll still ache for you.

To the kindergartener who cried the first two weeks of school straight, because being away from mom all day was more than you could bear, I’ll miss you just as much as you did me.

To the third-grader who loved to dress up as Darth Vader and wield a light saber but still got scared when fire drill bell went off at school, I’ll miss that bravado mixed with vulnerability.

To the sixth-grader who won student of the month for his quiet kindness to classmates and his conscientiousness in class, I wish I could hug you one more time before you jumped from twelve to thirteen.

To the junior-higher who started choosing really great friends but also started feeling self-conscious about how others perceived him, I wish I could go back in time and tell you that in two years you’d have a much better handle on things. I miss who you were then, but I also feel like I missed the mark as your mom then. 

To the 14-year-old who finally started to loosen up and laugh with mom again, who realized that maybe I CAN be trusted to give advice, who I could share some of my favorite movies with because you’re FINALLY old enough . . . whew, I might miss you the most. I felt like we were hitting our stride. 

But, I have to say goodbye to you, too.

Because like I said, there’s a new man in my life, and he needs all my attention.

He’s 15 now, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think he needs me even more than he did when he was a newborn.

Although sometimes I enjoy telling him about his toddler days, when he didn’t want to leave my side, the truth is: I can’t hold him back by clinging to all the boys, all of you—all the versions of himthat I loved before.

So I’m telling you, boys, it’s time for me to let you go. I won’t evict you from my memories or my heart, but I won’t hold on to you with my hands like I used to, either.

I’ll see you in the photo albums, boys. But from this moment on, I’m not looking back. My soon-to-be-a-man boy needs my hand on his back and my gaze set forward.

Thank you, all of you, for changing my life. I’ll never forget you.

Love,
Mom

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When He’s 15

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Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.