A Wind-Up Patrick


So, nothing could have prepared me for how hard it would be when Patrick got a car, got a job, started senior year and vanished from my daily life. He comes home for sleep and sometimes food, but mostly, he’s off at school, or work, or with friends. I know he has been struggling with some of the changes too. He’s newly single, got his driver’s license AND a new car, and he’s working on college applications.

I started crying last night, missing even our TV time together, missing all the small things that never happen now. For 17 years, Patrick has been at the center of my universe. He started my mornings, encompassed my days and ended my nights. Now I’m feeling unrelentingly selfish for all the times I chose to do something other than spend more time with him. Now I’m wishing I could replace those times with him. Read him one more Dr. Seuss book, take another walk around the pond, teach him how to cook, play on the playground all afternoon. Regret is that sound you hear gnawing on your soul. And my regrets are devouring me.

Folks would often ask me if I wanted more children. No. All I wanted was MORE PATRICK. He’s the greatest person. The funniest, the most compassionate, the most innately sensible, the most brilliant. I am madly in love with him as a parent and mother. Every day of his life, I have loved him more. The thought of him going off to college is terrifying, especially since the past few weeks have been so difficult (and he’s still HERE). I know he gets frustrated with me for being overbearing and sad, but I can’t seem to help it. I’m not ready to let go of my little boy, even though he’s a young man. I can’t bear the thought of a day without him. I have only ever taken a handful of vacations sans Patrick.

Now I wonder how my mom ever made it through me going to college. Heck, I wonder how she made it through me being a totally bratty, introverted, hormonal teenage mess for the better part of 15 years (yeah, my adolescence seemed to go on and on until I was almost 30).

I don’t want a daily life without Patrick, but I won’t have a choice, not if I want him to grow into a thriving adult. He can’t live with me forever, but 18 years just isn’t enough. I worry that my life will be so empty with out him. It already feels more hollow and quiet. I used to crave quiet when he was young, and now I’d give anything to hear Spongebob in the background, a K’nex set revved up on the kitchen table and him bouncing around the room chasing Biscuit. The silver lining…the supreme joy and pride in having such a wonderful son.

There’s a hole in my soul…can you fill it? –Flaws by Bastille

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1 Response to A Wind-Up Patrick

  1. George Helmke says:

    Beautifully written…I feel your pain and the conflicting emotions that have to be swirling around in your head. You want him to be a well-rounded normal young man, yet you long for and miss the child. My advice is to concentrate on the pride you have a right to feel because through all sorts of adversity, you have created a fine young man.. Believe me, dear one, the love will continue to flow both ways. Only difference is that it will have a little farther to travel at times……

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