Saturday, September 27, 2014

Learning to Let Go: A Mother's Story

“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”
― Dorothy Parker

This morning, I dropped Thing 1 off at the high school so he could go with his marching band to a competition a few towns over.  He got out of the car, gathered his things, and then looked me in the eye and, with his deep manly voice, said, "OK, then.  I'll see you later."

Thing 1 walks off into the sunrise
I drove away a little teary-eyed.  I'm often not sentimental about traditional milestones that I'm SUPPOSED to be weepy over.  I didn't cry when he went to kindergarten.  It didn't bother me when he went to middle school.  But, now...these days he's needing me less and less.  He's out there doing his own thing.  His world is his own.  And it hits me every so often that my Big Job as a mom is almost done.  He's almost baked.

This morning, he got up before I even thought to go and rouse him.  He came downstairs and proceeded to pack his lunch with nary a reminder from me.  He consulted his list and gathered all the items he needed for the day.  As he stood eye-to-eye with me, we discussed how best to pack and where he could put his spending money so he could have access to it (and not, as I always fear, lose it and have no money to eat!). 

He's growing up.  All those motherly worries come back to me.  Does he have faith?  Can he withstand the storms of life on his own?  What if someone hurts him?  Have we taught him well? What if he fails?

I worry because the child's head is quite often in the clouds.  He missed the bus just a couple of weeks ago not because he was late to the stop, but because he was daydreaming when the bus pulled up.  He stood there, lost in his own world, while the GIANT YELLOW SCHOOL BUS picked up his classmates and moved along.  He's not prepared to go out on his own!  This child NEEDS a mother.

He's been mine from day one.  We learned about life together.  I had no idea how to be a mother and he was new to the world.  I was fortunate to be able to stay home with him as an infant.  I cried when he cried.  I tried to sleep in the few minutes when he would sleep.  We left the house every morning together in pursuit of the day's Great Adventure and I talked and talked and talked.  Knowing who he is now, I must have driven him bat-shit crazy as a child.  I'm almost positive he cried so much because he simply couldn't take so much interaction--touching, holding and talking. 

He's out on his own today.  He's building his own life and dreaming his own dreams.  And I, as I should, am standing on the sidelines cheering him on, quietly.  His life is not mine.  And my role now is to become more and more passive as the years go by until the only role I have is that of quiet cheerleader. 

My best friend's daughter went to college this year.  I thought she handled it very well as a mother.  I know she struggles still...but she's doing better than I thought she would.  I know that, when my time comes and my chickens fly the nest, I'll be fine.  But, until then, I will probably have more of these teary reminders that Thing 1 will be Out On His Own in a blink of an eye.

The days are very, very long.  But the years?  They're so very, very short.

It's good to be back in the Rockin' Chair...if only for a moment.  Ya'll take care.

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