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As A Single Mom, I’m Bracing Myself for When My Son Leaves Home

My oldest son just turned 17 and he’s in the first month of his senior year of high school. Every time he pulls in the driveway or leaves to go take his brother and sister to get some late-night comfort food, I can hear the clock ticking in my head.

It tells me I need to brace myself for what it’s going to feel like when my son leaves home. The day he moves out of this home is going to be a first that will be like no other for me. He learned to walk in this house. He learned to ride his bike on our street. He pulled up a stool and helped me make bread on our kitchen island. And his father was here to share all those firsts with me.

In the mornings, my son walks into my bedroom and starts talking to me while I’m still asleep. That has always been my favorite way to wake up. I’m not looking forward to the first morning when I have to wake up on my own because he’s not here. I’m not looking forward to mourning that little ritual alone.

When my son started school, I was more upset than he was about us not being together all day any longer. His father was there to remind me that he was going to be fine. When he goes to college, there won’t be another adult to cushion the blow or make me laugh by reminding me about all the things my son does that drive me crazy.

I Am a Single Mother and I’ll Miss My Teenage Son

As the oldest child, my son has helped out in a lot of ways since his father moved out. He was excited to be the sole-user of the riding lawn mower. He’s gotten up early to snow blow the driveway after every storm. He’s at the front door when I come home with groceries and has kept me company on a few Friday nights when I knew he’d rather be with his friends.

I never asked him to do these things, it’s a role he’s just stepped into and I’ll miss it. I feel lucky I will have his younger brother and sister here to distract me, but having my first child move out is going to hit different as a single parent.

It is going to make me more aware than ever that his younger siblings are right behind him and that an empty nest is closer in my rearview than I’d like it to be. Facing that experience without a spouse is going to make me feel more alone than I have since the divorce and, honestly, I’m not looking forward to it.

As a single mother, I know I have to be resilient.

I’ve gotten through many challenges alone simply because I have to. People say they are there for me, and I know they mean it, but they have families and lives of their own. So I have had to learn to handle things on my own, without a spouse, because that’s just the way my life is right now. There isn’t anyone here to pick up the slack in the way there was before.

My son leaving home will be another one of those times that would definitely be easier to get through with a partner who shared my feelings. But it’s not my reality. When that day comes, I will make a date with some comfort food to help me fill the void. Until then, I’ll enjoy the morning wake-ups and one more winter of not having to snow blow my own driveway.

Katie Bingham-Smith had three kids in three years and crafts herself silly in order to stay sane. She loves to write, wear faux leather pants, eat at burger joints, and make beautiful things. You can see more on her Facebook and Instagram.

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