Every day, I eagerly anticipated that hour. My son and I sat side-by-side at the dining room table and built an inventory spreadsheet in Excel, ordered supplies, measured and cut paper, and divided up larger quantities of items into small ziplock bags and plastic containers.
This time with my son was the shortest hour of my day.
Based on the number of times that my son looked at the clock on the screen of his newly repaired iPhone, it was the longest hour of his.
This is where we are now: the years when my boys would much rather be with their friends than family - or doing anything but spending time with me, the years when my husband and I are too embarrassing to be introduced to friends, the years when planning for family time activities is met with barely restrained groans.
Looking back, I see it started early, my son's leaving and my letting go. Like when he was three years old and ran off to be with friends at daycare without looking back. When he was six and didn't want to hold my hand anymore. When he started asking at nine years old if he could just stay home instead of going with me to run errands.
Last Sunday evening he came home after spending the night at a friend's house followed by a full day of hanging out with his friends at the mall, the park, another friend's house. I met him at the front door with a big hug and said I missed you. He pulled out of the hug and replied with a smile that it had only been a day, then walked to his room and shut the door.
He's growing up, pulling away, doing exactly what he's supposed to do.
I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do, too: slowly letting him go, whispering quietly to myself as he walks away, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.