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'You will smile and cry at the same time': What to expect when your son is 18

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When your son is 18...

When you become a mom, the years all of a sudden start flying by. At lightspeed. You try hard to slow down time, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t figure out the magic potion to freeze time.

And because of this, one day you look up and instead of seeing your sweet little boy you find yourself looking up – way up – into the eyes of your son who is now a full-grown man. Just turned 18. An adult in the eyes of the world, yet still just a boy in the eyes of his mom.

We raise these tiny babies into adults and they need us less and less the bigger they get. Yet at the same time, I am realizing no matter how old they get, they will always need their mom. And no matter how big they get, we will always be here for them.

But one thing for sure – I never expected 18 years to pass so quickly.


When your son is 18, he likes to think he is all grown-up, until you remind him you still pay his rent. And his phone bill.

When he is 18, he will do his own laundry, but will still ask you how to fold a shirt.

When he is 18, he will sleep till noon – if you let him.

When he is 18, he will still give you the best bear hugs and you will always hold onto him just a little longer – savoring that moment.

When he is 18, laughing together over funny memes and YouTube videos will be some of the best of times.

When he is 18, you will worry about his future. A lot.

When your son is 18, he will occasionally melt your heart with a text that simply says, “Love you!”

When he is 18, you will still need to remind him to clean his room and throw away the 20 empty water bottles that reside there.

When he is 18, you will find yourself praying for his safety every time you watch him get in the car and drive away.

When your son is 18, you will be lucky if he answers your text. But if he does, it will only be one word. And although you are grateful for that one word, you will still be a little ticked off he couldn’t take the time to say more.

When he is 18, he will still take your breath away when you watch him across the room.

When he is 18, he will NEVER want to listen to your advice.

When he is 18, he might be dating – and you will find yourself wondering how this is possible that you have a child old enough to date?? And then you remember dating when you were his age and it makes you worry even more.

When he is 18, there will never be any food in the house, even though you spend $300 a week on groceries.

When he is 18, he will think he knows it all. Insert eye-roll.

When he is 18, you will watch him get excited about something and it will remind you of when he was little. You will see the little boy that he was in the twinkle in his eye and the grin on his face and it will make you smile and cry at the same time.

When your son is 18, sometimes he will still leave stinky gym clothes on the floor, shoes by the front door and dishes in the sink. You will complain about it yet also know in the back of your mind these are the very things you will miss one day when he is gone.

When he is 18, he will drive you crazy some days and you will wonder if you have done a good enough job being his mother. Have you taught him enough to live on his own?

When he is 18, he will absolutely break your heart when he walks out that door to leave for college. And instead of seeing the man he is – you will see the little boy the was walking away and taking a piece of your heart with him.


It is a year of change – growing up, moving on and spreading those wings. But one thing for sure will never change and that is how much we love these young adults. How even though our hearts shatter with them leaving, it expands with more love and pride than ever before. Because we did it. We survived 18 years when some days we didn’t think we would. And we raised these tiny humans into big, beautiful adults who make us so very proud because we know they are going to do great things in this life.

When your son is 18, you realize what a privilege it is to be his mom and how you have loved watching him grow up. And although your heart is sad, it is also very excited for what is to come. But most of all, you fall to your knees and thank God for trusting you with this amazing gift – knowing all along your job is to one day let him go and watch him soar!

Heather Duckworth Love, Faith & Chaos

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