As he rode his tricycle out of the driveway and into the middle of the cul-de-sac, my heart stopped. He was out of our driveway and in the danger zone. I couldn't protect him out there. But I need to learn to let go. I can't postpone this. I can't just think Oh, well, he'll leave for college/job/world travel in sixteen years. I'll think about letting go then. No. I need to do it in increments. Today? Cul-de-sac. Tomorrow, next street up. Next week? I don't fucking know, we'll think about that when we get there. But right now, I need to get over my fear. It's just a cul-de-sac at 10:30 in the morning. No one is out at this time of day. Everyone in the neighborhood is either at work or at school or hunkered down in their houses, making beds and folding laundry. No one is even thinking about getting in their cars. It's safe. It's OK. I can do this. I can let go. I know he can turn away and forge his own path because there he goes, trucking up the street on his Radio Flyer tricycle like he owns the joint. If he owns this cul-de-sac at 2-1/2, then he'll own the world by the time he's 30. I have to give him those wings. I have to allow him to fly and not hold him back for selfish reasons. I shouldn't keep him in the driveway just because of some hormonal issue causing me to fear a cavernous, empty house in 16 years. Ty-man and I will have plenty to talk about when that time comes. I'm sure we'll be at the Cracker Barrel gabbing away over our low-fat grilled teriyaki chicken. We won't be like those other "empty nesters" who have nothing to say to one another because the only things holding them together were carting the kids to football games, band camp, and chess club.
And then, I thought, Screw it. Three times to the center of the cul-de-sac is enough. That boy has to come back into the driveway. Because every mother has her limits, you know? And that was mine.