Me: (yawning) Good morning, buddy.
Hank: (making himself breakfast) Good morning, mama. (checking the clock on his phone)
Me: You have plenty of time. You don’t leave for another 40 minutes.
Hank: No, I leave in 20 minutes.
Hank: (filling his stainless steal travel mug with ice, a decaf espresso, milk and two sugar cubes) No, 20 minutes. I made plans with my friend, Clara. She and I are meeting at the school gates at 8am which is easiest for her and then we are going to the cafeteria to pay our lunch bill and then we are scouting the perfect spot to meet each morning and just relax a bit before class starts.
Hank: I’ve got everything under control, mama. Now for a little breakfast. (fetching some bacon he cooked the night before to eat with his toast)
Me: (a bit taken back, exhausted, but impressed)
Hank: Can I help you with something before I go, mama? Can I make you a coffee? Do you need me to hang some laundry?
Me: Nope. No, I’m good.
Hank: You sure?
Me: Yup, just a bit stunned. I have been waiting for this day since you were born and now it is here and I’m just… processing. I didn’t expect today to be Independence Day.
Hank: What day?
Me: Independence Day. (sigh, making myself a coffee) Don’t get me wrong, I love being your mama, but you just leveled up as a human. YOU don’t need anything… from me, your mom, right now, before school or to take you to school. You’ve got this. Today is your parent’s Independence Day.
Me: You got yourself up, showered, dressed, you made your own plan, your eating breakfast without being asked, your backpack is packed and you’re leaving… Independently from your parents. Independence Day!
Hank: Mom, this isn’t a big deal.
Me: Yes it is!
Hank: Noooooo, mom. (putting a lid on his travel mug) Calm down.
Me: (fist pumping the air above the coffee maker) A-chieve-ment unlocked!
Me: I have run out of gaming references for milestones.
Hank: Good, because this isn’t a big deal.
Me: I beg to differ (looking up from my coffee) but, apparently, no matter how mature and responsible you become (walking up behind him) you will always need your mama to fix your wonky collar.
Hank: (smiling) Thanks, mom.
Me: (resisting the urge to muss his perfectly coiffed hair when it was just yesterday I was picking him up from Kindergarten.)