My son started high school this year and it made me reflect on his life and my own. Sometimes I find it hard to imagine not having my son with me 24/7.

The truth is, we parent our children to launch from our home to another one – their own.

It’s hard for me to imagine my day-to-day life without him being in it. Raising a son has been the hardest, most rewarding and most fulfilling thing I have done in my life so far. He’s a teenager with his own mind, purpose, thoughts and feelings, and he’s very independent (which in hindsight, is a very good thing!).

As a mother, I recall when he came into my life and the challenges we faced together. He had two surgeries before his first birthday. His father chose not to be in our lives around the same time. Growing up without a father at home has very much impacted my son.

I remember his accomplishments and reaching milestones from infancy through middle school, and now he’s a freshman in high school. He is discovering what he likes to do, finding the people he wants to hang around, and discovering the world around him.

As a parent, I am beginning to understand that our lives together are blessings. I also realize that we have to remain individuals, and that our separate interests are necessary.

As he will graduate from high school soon enough, I should begin preparing my mind, my life and my heart for the day he leaves my nest to explore, grow and live his own life in his own way. I will always be his biggest fan, his cheerleader and his supporter.

I am now charged with giving him more room to figure things out for himself and to talk to him as much as possible about his choices for the future. Since I only have a few more years before he launches, I have to make sure that every second counts.

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