Thing 1

Brave.

The passing of time is so relative.

In some ways, I feel there is no way that my youngest child is heading off to college today. It’s impossible that 18 years have passed since the day he was born, right? I mean, he is the now age I was when I found out I was going to be his mother. There’s no way that’s right…that he is now the age of the “me” when we met as mother and son. That would indicate a passage of time I feel like is about 10 times longer that the amount of time that has actually passed. He’s really only three, right?

But – on the other hand – I only have the very faintest of memories of life before becoming his mother. I don’t really remember that girl – Kim before Eliah. She is like a character in a book I read as an assignment in school.

The book was kind of boring.
That I had to force myself to finish even though I hated it.
The lead character was quite lost. Maybe even a little one-dimensional.
A book I never re-read because it was so unappealing.

The moment I became Eliah’s Mom, that was the moment I feel like my life truly started. So, in that sense, it’s hard to believe I’ve only lived that life for 18 years. I’m such a different person than I was when he was born, I’m better in every way, and I can’t believe it only took me 18 years to get here. Surely it should have taken 50 or 60 years to go from the Pre-Eliah Kim to the Kim that is Now. Right? Someone can’t change that much in a mere 18 years, can they?

When he was born, I was so grateful to finally hold him in my arms. I had been talking to him through my abdomen for months. I was already confiding in him my hopes, my dreams, and my fears. Pregnancy was so hard. I was very young and felt lost and alone, and that child growing inside of me became the youngest therapist in the history of the practice. But, even after he was born, I narrated our lives to him. I talked to him as we shopped in the grocery store, as he barely was able to hold his head up. I talked to him as I did my homework in college. I talked to him as I held him in my arms at night before bed. He has always been the one I’ve talked to about everything, because for a long time I felt like he was all I had. He was the best listener since he couldn’t even crawl, much less tell me to shut up, already.

We spent a lot of time camping and hiking when he was little because I always felt at home in the woods and it was a free form of entertainment. I remember often wishing we could stay out there forever, as I hadn’t really found a good rhythm to my life in the real world. I was struggling with home, school, and growing up. But he and I, in the woods with friends, always brought me peace. We camped with my Dad once and he was shocked I would take such a stressful adventure with a small child and I told him the truth: “This is way less stressful than the life I live back home.”

Finally, when he was about 4, I started getting my act together. I figured out what I wanted to do with the years I had spent in college. I met a wonderful man I hoped to some day marry. I quit dyeing my hair. I discovered Harry Potter. Life was finally falling into a peaceful place.

But, I still talked to him about everything. About the projects I was working on in school. About my job interviews. About the apartment hunting. About moving to a new city. We talked about it all. And then, after Donnie proposed, Eliah even helped me plan my wedding. He helped me craft party favors and invitations. There is not a memory of my wedding planning that does not somehow involve him. Which is why that day holds a space in my heart more about family than about marriage. We started a new family that day, the three of us, and it is still one of my favorite days of my life.

And man…did life change from there on out. We settled into our non-college, married life which meant we had schedules and MONEY. We bought a house and he became a brother. TWICE. And through it all, I would still sit down with him at night with a bowl of cereal and we’d talk about our days. He’d hang out while I rocked his siblings to sleep. We’d go see movies on Mother’s Day. We went to midnight book releases for Harry Potter.

And as he got older, our talks got fewer because he started filling his life with friends and activities that I so envied. As he became a teenager, I often looked at him and was in awe of the person he was becoming. How did he turn out so amazing when I was such a mess? He was so well-rounded with a balanced life of friends, academics, and recreation. While I missed talking to him as much, I learned so much from him just watching him grow up.

And we still had so many adventures. From musicals to mud races…he always made me laugh. We stayed late nights at the school working on many shows together. We discussed politics and comedians. We shared favorite YouTubers and Books. We introduced each other to music and television. We bonded over shared interests and aimed our hatred at similar targets.

And I look back on all of that now and I’m just in awe. Not in awe of the adult he has become, but in awe of the adult he has inspired me to be. If I could choose one word to describe him, it would be BRAVE. From auditions to social stresses…from academics to the arts…from the stage to the classroom…he has shown bravery in every aspect of his life. Bravery I don’t think I discovered in myself until I watched him demonstrate his. Every time I get scared, I think of all of the challenges he has faced in his 18 years and I scoff at my fear.

And today…he does it again. He goes off to a new school in a new city with barely any hesitation in his steps. He does not need us to go with him. In contrast, I made my Dad hold my hand every step of the way. But he’s allowing us to go, because he knows we want to. But he knows (and we know) he could do it on his own. Like he’s done so many things in his life.

And I have to be brave again, now.

It is my hope that he finds such a place for himself in this world that he doesn’t need us anymore. Donnie and I never came home but for brief visits after we left for college, and I truly hope this is the same thing for Eliah.

My wishes for him are simple. I hope today is a stepping stone towards his adult life where his trips home grow shorter and the time between them longer. I hope he finds a community that accepts him and a path that challenges him. I hope this is the beginning of an amazing journey where he finds the road to his future. I hope he takes risks. I hope he has fun. I hope he embraces the excitement the years will bring him and discovers wonderful parts of his spirit that were waiting to shine.

And I hope I harness the bravery he taught me: to stay strong and support him as he tests out his wings. To encourage him to fly, even at the risk of falling.

Even though every voice in my head it telling me to hold him down and never let him go.

52 thoughts on “Brave.”

  1. Beautiful…. I am holding you close to my heart today and the days to come as YOU take this big step as well…. Stay strong sister!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

  2. Holy cow! Why do your blog posts always make me cry?!? I’ve been butting heads with my son all summer, but this ^^^^ is how I *want* to feel about our time together when I look back on his childhood. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better mom. Good luck with the college transition! He will have tons of great experiences, and you have raised him to make the right choices for his bright future!

  3. Oh my god. I should not have read this before work. Now I’m sitting at the kitchen table sobbing because, well, my oldest one changed my life. He made me a better person, showed me who I needed to be and how to get there.
    Thank you for sharing this journey, I’ll be there soon enough.

  4. I am a dreadful lurker and really should have introduced myself before, but this post has reduced me to gulping sobs and I just had to comment. What a remarkable tribute post to both your remarkable son and your remarkable self. Honestly, it really has to be one of the most inspiring pieces of writing about being a parent that I have read in a long, long time. This quote “And I look back on all of that now and I’m just in awe. Not in awe of the adult he has become, but in awe of the adult he has inspired me to be.” is something I am going to think about a lot in the coming years. Its what the essence of parenting should be about, not focused solely on our children, but also on what our children do for us. Those lessons are sometimes the hardest and most difficult, but also the more fulfilling. I hope I can grow my girls up to be the inspiration that makes me want to be the best me I can be. Thank you so much for sharing this…. and honestly, even I can sense your excitement and joy for your son at this next stage of his life and that makes me smile, broadly, he is going to have the best time! PS I have been reading and following you on instagram for a while now and love your blog!

  5. I know I’m older than you, but I want to be like you when I grow up.
    Congratulations to the first blogger child I have seen grow up on a blog and congratulations to you, Kim.
    I don’t have much more to say than safe travels, lift with your back, and thank you for sharing yourselves in this way for so many years.

  6. He’s brave because you were too, Kim. I can’t imagine sacrifices necessary that you made, I’m sure happily, to bring your son up in the manner that you did. You shaped him. I remember seeing you once at church at the bacc mass for our brothers, and he was running around a bit in the back. I remember thinking KIM. IS. A. MOM. That smacked of reality for me and not one I would have handled like you handled it. So, he’s brave but you were too, and really you were more than brave. You’ve been absolutely dedicated to your child. I wish you and Eliah both the best today and hugs for you as you send him off. You’ve done good, Kim, and he’ll do good too…I’m sure of it. xo.

  7. Truly beautiful. A fitting tribute to a special relationship and you’ve written it as perfectly as you’ve lived it.

  8. You’ve captured the essence of motherhood here, the hopes and fears and its contradictory nature. It’s beautiful and poignant and now I have to explain why I’ve ugly cried at work this morning.

  9. This makes me so happy and so teary at the same time. What a lovely way to bid your son a sweet farewell while honoring him and the bond you guys share. Best wishes to all of you guys as you go through this transition. It’s going to be GREAT.

  10. Dammit, now I’m crying too. Eliah is going to have more people crying over him going to college than anyone ever. Good luck kiddo & mama- you’ll do great.

  11. Kim: I don’t comment often (okay ever) but I love seeing your photos and updates in my feed. This is such an amazing accomplishment for BOTH of you. What a wonderful kid. And mom. xoxo to you starting another journey.

  12. Crying as well! I hope to have such a relationship with my two sons as you have with Eliah!

    Go Eliah, have fun at university!

  13. Oh man, dude. Crying.

    You’re such an awesome lady. I hope I have a relationship like this with my kids.

    What a lucky kid he is.

  14. I hope when I one day have a son (or daughter) that I have the kind of open, honest relationship with him/her that you do with Eliah. Make no mistake, y’alls relationship has shaped who he is in as big a way as it’s shaped who you are! You two are so very lucky to have each other. Congrats, Eliah! Good luck at school! (And don’t listen to your mom, come home and visit often. Even if they’re short visits. You’ll never regret it!)

  15. Oh, Kim! I have been reading your blog since you got married and I am just so impressed with the relationship you have with Eliah and what an incredible Mom you’ve been to him. Courage and love to you as the both of you move into this new stage. >tears!

  16. So beautiful. One of the best blog posts I have read on any blog in a long time. It breaks my heart, makes me want to slow down time with my Sweet Henry, and inspires me to be as brave of a parent as you are being.

    After all these years of reading about E, I have to say I feel proud of him today too 🙂

  17. Tears!

    I say that you should give yourself a lot of the credit for who wonderful Eliah is. And that last picture of the two of you is wonderful.

    Good luck with college, Eliah. Can’t wait to hear updates of how you are doing from your mom.

  18. Sarah @ TM2TS – 4806-4828 NW Fielding Pl, Topeka, KS 66618, USA – Just random thoughts and feelings of one who thinks too much! You see there's more to someone than just what you see on the outside. Inside, they could be hiding a world of pain and anger. On the outside, they could be sweet and act innocent, when inside, their soul is dark and scary. On the outside they seem standoffish and stuck-up, when the truth is that they're actually very shy. That last one? That's totally me. How I am online is how I am in real life, but only after I really get to know you. I'm open and honest, but if I'm just meeting you, I'm quiet. If I'm uncomfortable, I laugh at everything, even things that aren't supposed to be laughed at. Some people don't understand, and it leads to a lot of mixed signals. But, that's life!
    Sarah @ TM2TS says:

    I’m totally crying right now. Gee, thanks 😀

    I want to be the kind of mom you are. I want my kids to be like that when they grow up!

  19. Crying in my office!!! Gah, they’ll just figure I’m the crazy pregnant lady, so I guess it’s ok. This is beautiful. Achingly beautiful. What an amazing pair you two are. Best of luck, Eliah! You’ve got a lot of internet mommies cheering you on.

  20. what a powerful piece on love inspiring bravery. i don’t know either of you and yet i am moved to tears with your writing filled with such love. well done. and best of luck…to you both!

  21. what a beautiful story of your life so far with Eliah 🙂 I loved the pictures! And loved that you both have the same tattoos <3

  22. Kim, this is beautiful. My older daughter is starting her senior year of high school, and I hope that over this next year I can get to the place where you are right now, because today I’m a little freaked and sad and panicked. So hard to think that the years of her belonging in my daily life (physically) are coming to an end.

  23. Beautiful. I started reading for the Harry Potter talk (which I hadn’t even read but was looking for something for my niece who is one year behind Eliah) and stayed for your beautiful family stories and life. Go forth Eliah and Inspire! You have inspired me thru your mother’s words to be more than I can be.

  24. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing this — and him — with us. I’m in awe of how confident and centered your eldest son is; I can only imagine how truly awesome it must be to be his mother.

  25. if at any point you need to hold back tears, don’t worry: we’ll all shed a few for you. what a wonderful son you’ve raised. it’s been my pleasure to read about him (and the rest of your family) all these years.

  26. Oh Lord I remember it well. You just reminded me of how broken my heart felt when you and your brother left. Hang in there honey. I love you and I too will miss him when I come and he’s not there.
    You put it so well I will sit down and just plain cry for you and for me and my memories..

  27. I have these exact same feelings in my heart for my son, who I will drive to college in three short weeks.
    This is the most bittersweet time of my whole life. I’m so proud of him. He is everything I hoped he would be when he was born, and more.

    I will miss him.

  28. Beautiful post and I am now crying. Good luck to you both in your new adventures! It’s been amazing to read this blog for almost 8 years and watch both of you grow.

  29. Beautiful. I would love to have the kind of relationship with my oldest son that you have with Eliah. It seems we always struggle to find the connection. E is an amazing kid and is going to do great things. I can’t wait to watch from the sidelines!

  30. your best writing yet, girl…of course it would be inspired by that awesome kid. he is all that…and then some.

    and so are you.

    love you both!!!

  31. Beautiful!

  32. Kim, thank you for sharing so much of your relationship with Eliah with us. I am I’m awe of the two of you. Good luck to both of you as you start this next step.

  33. Oh my goodness. I’ve been reading you for so long, that it feels like another one of mine heading off to college. This is how I felt 3 years ago when mine went off to M.I.T and we were up here – there’s a long way between MA and AK and it’s expensive to fly back and forth.

    Way to go, E! You have a zillion internet aunties and uncles that are rooting for you!

  34. I followed you for years and loved your stories about you and the little zoot. Somehow I lost track of you. But today you all popped into my mind and I decided to check in and see what was new. I am so glad I did. You have always been a shining example of what a mother should be. You really are. I know that you and Eliah will rock this new adventure. Congratulations. You should celebrate what you have given this world. You earned it. Oh, and wtg Little Z.

  35. I’m having a hard time typing through the tears — I can’t see the keyboard.

    What a beautiful tribute to such a special relationship. Thank you for sharing your memories and experiences all of these years. Thank you for showing that the teenaged years don’t have to be something to be dreaded, but that instead, I can look forward to seeing my children find their wings and blossom. Thank you, Kim (and thank you, Eliah for letting her share you all of these years! )

  36. Ugh. Right in the feels! Beautiful post.

    Your practical and amazingly loving approach to parenting (even if it doesn’t always feel like it to you – thanks for sharing those moments too!) are why you’re one of my blogger-mom heroes.

    If I can have a relationship half as good with my son as you’ve got with yours, I consider that a huge win.

  37. what a wonderful post… I am 10 short years from my first born being in just that place and time just seems to be flying. *hugs*

  38. I’ve followed your blog for years and find myself crying as I read this! It feels as I’ve watched E grow up over the years and I’m so proud of both of you. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Tears are streaming down my face. Just so poignant and touching and heartfelt. It makes me want to be a better mother. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your life with us.

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