The boy was particularly sick last night. I stayed up, watching while he slept. I haven't been that worried about him, or felt the need to do that, since he was about half his current size. I expect as he goes out into the dangerous world, I'll worry about him even more. A rational part of me understands that any sense of safety and security I feel or feel that he has while he's in our house is false security. Still, it's a peaceful feeling, and one I'm sure I'll miss when he leaves home.
At the same time I'm excited to see what he does with his life when he's completely on his own. This is the one area that I think he worries more than me--I think he fears he'll flounder.
I think he'll be brilliant. Not immediately. Even the brightest, most motivated of us had to start with uncertainty, with little or no experience, with little or no confidence. I know I judged my own first steps into the 'real world' really harshly, comparing myself endlessly to what my parents had achieved during the various stages of their lives. Even the way they started out, with little or nothing, left me in awe, because they escaped Communism and survived in a nation without a good grasp of English, never mind employment qualifications.
The boy has to jump some hurdles I never had to face at his age. I think, if anything, that'll make him a better, stronger person than me in the long run. And that's a great thing. My DH and I had always hoped that our kids would be stronger, faster, smarter, and more adaptable than we are. I don't think a person like that can be patched together with genetics and upbringing (though those things help.) I think a person has to make themselves, to become the adults that they hope to be.
That's all fine and good, but last night, watching his quick, shallow breaths as he slept uneasily with a hard fever, I wanted to protect, and help, and shelter him. That won't ever go away. He'll always be my son.