Erin Spatz photo (copy)

Erin M. Spatz

Oh, mercy! My oldest graduates from high school soon. I have so many feelings, good and bad.

These feelings! It seems like these feelings should have been mentioned in the delivery room on the day he was born. Like, hey, just a quick heads up, this baby boy you just labored for three days and fits neatly on your chest, despite his 9-pound birth weight will someday be taller than you. He will be all done being little and will be rocketing toward adulthood leaving you in the dust crying.

Granted, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I feel like it would’ve been at least polite to warn me.

All of these feelings! I want Dylan to be excited to pick a major or career, but I also want him to know that he is young and can change his mind. That just because you decide one thing, doesn’t mean you are locked in for life. Life can take you places you didn’t imagine for yourself. Life is not a straight line. Often, those big dips in the road lead to unexpected joy. Big things are coming, and sometimes with big things, you will make mistakes. But you can bounce back and you can do hard things. I want him to take this opportunity to explore new places but not be more than 30 minutes away from me. Being a mom is a constant war between letting go and holding tight. It’s a very delicate balance that I basically stink at.

I want to celebrate, send announcements, have parties, and basically shout to the world that my brilliant son has completed high school. But the sad part of me wants no one to be near us. I want Dylan all to myself. I want no party. I want no one to visit. I want to sit alone sobbing with Eric in the crowd watching our son walk across the stage toward his first major accomplishment, just like we watched him take his first steps, alone, together. Then come home and be sad, have Dylan all to myself. I have actually caught myself feeling angry that others want to celebrate with us.

I am fully aware that I am not the only one who had a hand in raising the baby who became this young man. It takes more than just parents to raise a child. But, I have known him nine months longer than anyone else. We have shared space. Doesn’t that mean my feelings matter more?

We are sending announcements. We are having a party. He has picked a college. People are coming to celebrate my first baby's big accomplishment. In fact, we’ve picked a menu. It seems Dylan may have been unclear about his ethnicity because he has not picked an Italian meal for his party, but a Mexican one. But that’s okay. I’ll cook whatever he wants for his big day.

I am fully aware that my words are all rambling and all over the place. But so are my feelings! And, even though we won’t be there alone, I will be in the crowd sobbing with Eric.

Erin Spatz lives in Pawleys Island and is the author of the book, “Who Left Me In Charge.”