Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First bird leaves the nest

Well the day finally arrived. A day I've thought about for years, but was not prepared as fully as I'd hoped when it snuck up on me. My first-born "little bird" has flown from the nest. He's gone off to attend his first year of a four year university. While I couldn't be more excited for him and thrilled for his arrival into adulthood and real independence, I admit I was a little thrown by the sadness that followed.

It began as H.S. graduation approached. I found myself weepy off and on (not a usual characteristic of mine) as the year came to a close. When he walked down the aisle, waiving his diploma with pride and the thrill he was finished with high school, I frantically tried in vain to get my camera to take pictures. An action that caused me to miss the walk completely. I did, at least, hear the announcement of his name, thank goodness. I'll hold on to that!

Summer followed and I put aside thoughts of the looming fact he would soon be leaving home to live in the dorms of his school. When summer came to an end and the day we drove him to school arrived, I was more afraid of crying (or crying too hard) than I was of leaving him behind. But, in fact, I did not cry. Not until the next day when reality sank in. I tried to bury my emotions, but I was discombobulated, scattered, distracted and weepy. By that night I was fully aware how terribly I missed my son, and how truly uncomfortable it was not to know where he was and what he was doing. After 18 years, it's tough to relinquish access to that knowledge.

The emotional roller-coaster is as much about entering into a new family dynamic and new routines as it is about missing him and letting go. I'm not one who normally takes issue with change, but some change is just too big to grasp right away. It takes time.

The biggest help in my journey to finding my equilibrium again came when my son contacted me. A simple text, promising to call me the next day, ending with a heart symbol did a world of wonders for my state of mind. I realized he hadn't forgotten me and he hadn't disappeared from my life, just my daily life. So I soldier on, still missing him, but also still very happy for him and the adventures that await him as he steps further into adulthood.

I wish all you moms and dads out there who are in the same shoes all the best as we each travel through this time armed with the love that unites us forever to our children, wherever they go.