My baby is leaving me and I’m just fine with it.

One week from right now he will be a high school graduate.

This kid right here has grown up into a young man with dreams and plans of his own. He is going to pack up his clothes, his laptop, and maybe his favorite quilt from when he was little (I can dream) and move five hours away to explore the beauty of art, science, and living with zero parental supervision.

He’s feeling every emotion he should be. He’s excited, nervous, and very ready.

As for me, I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

I mean, I cry at the mention of caps and gowns. Every picture of him makes me remember the late nights we spent together when he was a newborn, getting to know each other. Every hug he gives me feels like the beginning of a goodbye I am not ready for.

Everyone tells a new mother, when her child is born, “Don’t blink. It all goes by so fast.”

I didn’t blink. I tried my best to keep my eyes wide open and still this little guy blew right past me into young adulthood and I am not ready to let him go.

What if he gets sick? What if he needs me in the middle of the night? What if he doesn’t eat right? No way is he going to eat right.

Did I teach him everything he needs to know? Is he going to study enough? What if he gets homesick or doesn’t make friends right away?

WHAT IF HE WASHES HIS REDS WITH HIS WHITES?!

The reality is that he is ready. There will be bumps in the road, but he’ll handle them. He might make some calls home and maybe I’ll make a trip or two to visit. Maybe not. Either way, I know he is going to be ok. He’s going to be great because he is strong and smart and prepared.

Me?

I’m going to do what every Mama does when her baby leaves the nest. I’m going to pack up some food, slip some extra cash into his hand before I say goodbye, and put on a brave face so he feels brave, too. Then, as soon as he is out of sight, I’m going to cry my eyes out for days because I miss him so much.

He’s still my baby.