My baby is eighteen — and I’m worried.

Lisa Sealey


Photo by Gilles DETOT on Unsplash

Not about him.

About me.

About the mom I have been to him.

I knew his birthday was coming. And yet, I’m somehow still surprised by it. It doesn’t seem possible that the time has passed so quickly and in such a blur. It is crazy to me to realize that he’s a senior in high school.

I can’t remember what year it was when he broke his collarbone playing football, and I can’t remember the name of his fourth-grade teacher.

But I can remember singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him to rock him to sleep. I also remember the first time he got a nosebleed, and we had to call the paramedics because it wouldn’t stop.

And I can remember every time I thought I messed up as a parent.

The times I yelled when I should have listened.

The times I said I didn’t have time to do something he wanted, mostly because I wasn’t in the mood for it.

When my protection instinct kicked in and I didn’t let him do something that would probably have been okay for him to experience.

Don’t get me wrong; these things were the exception, not the rule. But still, I sometimes replay them over and over and over in my head and feel ashamed.

And sad.

And like I royally screwed up.

I wanted to be a better parent than I feel I have been.

Did I do enough? Did I teach him what he needs to know? Did I give him a solid foundation? Will he be able to cope with challenges? Will he make good choices?

Did I do my job well enough?

But then I remember that he’s a great kid. He gets good grades. He’s involved in activities. He has good friends and a girlfriend. He has a job. And now, as an adult, he’s going to be an Assistant Scoutmaster for his Boy Scout troop — the troop he was in and where he earned his Eagle Scout rank.

So maybe I didn’t do too badly as a mom.


It’s time for him to start making his way into the world. I think he’s ready, and I am choosing to believe he will be okay.

And I’ll keep trying to be the mom I want to be.

And I’ll probably keep messing up, because I’m human.

And I’ll hope that he understands.

And I’ll keep loving him, as I have from the day he was born, fiercely.






Lisa Sealey

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