It was a Tuesday evening eighteen years ago when our son agreed to make his appearance. Checking in at 7# 13 oz, I was appalled at his size. After all, both of his older sisters were around 6# 10, a much more reasonable size for a pregnant woman with an aching back.

A great kid while growing up (even given that he knew exactly how to push his sisters’ buttons) I certainly wasn’t ready for him to turn into The Mole as a teenager. He had been the protector, the undemanding one of the four. Looking back, I think we really hit the middle child syndrome with me. That child who is good, cooperative and as a result doesn’t always get their fair share of attention.

He might have been the one who missed me the most on my various deployments. All I can tell for certain is that he turned into a typical teenager – the kind who is exhausted when he can’t sleep till noon on the weekends, one who knows and understands computers and can program a VCR. His hair is now shaggy and his legs are long. He towers over me.

In fall of 2006, he decided to try boarding school. I found I missed him probably more than he missed us as parents. He is bright, can be extremely articulate although he has not needed those skills as much with three sisters always ready with an opinion and very math/science oriented. The one child who is likely to follow my path into medicine.

He is off again this year at boarding school down in Kent; headed for A level exams in a number of subjects. I see him on weekends. Perhaps I should be happier that he is so obviously a capable and competent young adult, functioning independently. But I miss my young son, the one who (unfortunately for him) might be the most like me in some personality traits. The one who spent his birthday at school because it fell during the week. The one who got his presents early, leaving the day itself a bit on the downside. His smile is great, he cares about others, he knows what he wants to do with his life.

It is hard as an parent to pull back, to let your offspring decide their own fate. I certainly am proud of him and the adult he is becoming. I would love him just as much in any case.

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