My oldest son is away on a school camp at the moment. He left early this morning and I have to tell you I miss him so badly it aches inside.
Normally he would be at school anyway so the fact that I miss him is a little bit melodramatic I guess.
Maybe it is because I know come 3.15 pm, his smiling face is not going to walk through the front door, he wont chuck his school bag into the middle of the kitchen floor and open the fridge door and stare into it whilst moaning that there is nothing to eat.
Or maybe it is because I feel like I am missing him in a much bigger context.
He is growing up so quickly and I know we all say that about our kids, almost in an off handed manner. But he REALLY is growing up so fast and I just don't know that I am ready to say goodbye to my little boy.
It feels like only yesterday he was running through the house in his Buzz Lightyear costume ready to to face the world with an overabundance of bravado and promising to love me to infinity and beyond.
And now... well now in what truly seems like a matter of breaths he really is standing face to face with that big old world, minus the Buzz suit and a lesser degree of bravado.
He is still in there, that little boy of mine. I get glimpses of him every now and then.
I see him when he joins a new sports team or walks into a room full of strangers and again when he asks if he can sit in my bed and chat to me about a problem he is dealing with or a fear that he has. And I can feel him when he hugs me and holds on to me a little longer than usual - like he did when he said goodbye to me this morning.
I know that as a mother I should feel excited for him, for the future he faces, and I should be proud of the beautiful soul I have helped to create. I am, I truly am, but at the same time I cant help but look at this gorgeous boy and feel a pang of sadness inside that I wont always be the most important person in his life and that there will come a day when he no longer needs me as much as he has these past 12 years.
I am jealous of someone I don't even know, someone who will one day in the future steal his heart from me. Someone who I can only hope with all my might will treat that heart gently and love him as much as he deserves to be loved, as much as I love him.
I know this is a normal rite of passage for a mother, at least I hope it is.
I just want so much for this world to be kind to him and I so desperately want to protect him for as long as I possibly can.
There is a saying that goes, "Don't look back, you are not going that way", but I guess the truth is I can't help but turn around and take a little peak at where we have come from and I'm just having a little trouble letting go of the little boy I have left there.
Are you a Mum and do you feel like this?
Does it get easier?