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It’s the physical touch I think I miss most. The weight of an infant on my hip. The softness of a toddler’s cheek, pressed up against mine. The warmth of a seven-year-old’s fingers entwined with my own.

You can’t cuddle with a 16-year-old. Especially a boy. I certainly can’t ask my son to curl up on my lap. That would be weird. Right?

I can’t stroke his face, hold his hand, smell his freshly washed hair, curl up against him while he drifts off to sleep, stroke his back when he’s sad.

That part of our story is over. And I mourn it. I believe many mothers do when we are reduced to quick, polite side hugs from our sons. Sometimes I sneak in a quick peck on the cheek.

I admit, I miss this part of our story.

But oh what a gift it is to love something so much it breaks your heart to let it go.

What a gift to be given, to watch a helpless, button-nosed creature turn into the young man he is today.

He has opinions of his own. Beliefs of his own. Convictions of his own.

And I helped create that. I helped shape that.

His growing up fills my heart up.

His growing up empties my heart out.

Equally.

Childhood is a memory.

Adulthood is now a stone’s throw away.

I mourn and celebrate.

Equally.

Go! Go! Into this big, wide amazing world, I cheer.

Come back! Come back! I beg.

Equally.

My son. As you turn 16, I may wish you were still little. I may wish you would still curl up in my lap and look at me like I was the most magical thing in your life. Like you used to.

But above anything, I wish you amazing adventures, breathtaking moments, love, peace, clarity and kindness.

A long, wild, dreamy, laughter filled life.

And to always remember how much I love you.

And that it’s okay to hug your mother.

With both arms.

This article originally appeared on Espresso & Adderall

 

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Claudia Caramiello

Claudia Caramiello is a certified pharmacy technician by day, freelance writer by night, mother of two teen sons both day and night. Hailing from New Jersey, she survives single motherhood on caffeine, humor, and listening to Twenty One Pilots. Her articles have been featured on Scarymommy, Bluntmoms, Sammiches and psych meds, Elephant Journal, and Moms & Stories. You can find her on Facebook at Espresso & Adderall and read more from Claudia on her blog, https://wordblush.com/

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