Her college bound freshman
It's been a long time...that is what happens when you have kids...family--just day to day "things" that call you somewhere else but in front of your computer. So why I am here...now? I have a house of teenagers and they sure can keep you busy.
I thought of this little blog after I said goodbye to a friend in the vegetable aisle. We stood there for about 40 minutes...talking. Words couldn't come to me that afternoon standing in the vegetable aisle but I listened, I even teared up because I knew I am only one step behind her.
That late morning, she just dropped her freshman college off at the airport. He is off chasing his dreams. That morning, when she stood at that terminal she passed that baton on...she moved from #1 care taker to "cheerleader". She has made the similar decisions that I have. We put our degrees, our education, our "own" dreams to stay home and raise kids. It was our choice and what we wanted. We heard the critics, we explained ourselves over and over again. But, in the back of our mind as the years pass, we knew our "path" is short lived. We question our choices, we pick up pieces that have been ignored...our identity is there but not as strong as when we were a kindergarten "mama".
There is so much out there when you a mother with babies, toddlers and elementary kids but it dies off... like right over a cliff "dies" off! Moms of older kids go into this "solitary" business...you are around people but you are moving to the next pickup line, the next practice...driving keys to your teenager b/c he locked them in the car, helping fill out early college applications. There is no MOPS group...no MOMS club...no nursery pick up line...and even if there was--you couldn't go.
It's cute...it's fun to hear of the kindergarten mom who is rolled up in the fetal position after dropping off their 5 year old to kindergarten. But, it's not cute with the mom who said goodbye...."see you at Christmas" to her 17 year old college bound, across the country. She will will be labeled "helicopter" mom, get-a-life mom...
So even though this 40 something woman is a completely different person than her 30 something counterpart. She is more confident and really doesn't care what anyone thinks but somehow she retreats to herself...she puts on that front. She is his biggest "fan"and is cheering him nervously as he moves to the next stage of life. But what she forgets and what we fail to tell her...
She is strong. She is more successful than that CEO sitting there behind the desk. She just did one heck of a job raising a strong, independent, loving son. He is doing all that he is suppose to do. Her job will never be over but she gave her child roots and NOW wings. But that doesn't erase the sadness, the "loss" of him there everyday...that daily interaction..that empty bedroom.
In her tear filled eyes, she looked at me and told me that everyone has told her she should be excited that he is gone. Maybe they are "grieving" but don't want to show it or maybe they are ready to get on with their own lives....I don't know. But, not every mom feels that way about her college bound student...but we should never shame a mom for this "grief".
She told me that she had a whole "cheering" section when her son was potty trained...when he left for kindergarten...made that first team...had his first "puppy" love BUT the day that her son showed that application for a west coast school. She carefully chose words and showed support even excitement for his future but that "cheering" section was not there...they were too busy looking at college applications and figuring out how they were going to pay for college.
It takes someone strong to make someone strong. But even the "strong" ones need hugs... SO hug that mom who is saying goodbye to her college bound kid this Fall. I have so many friends walking this path this week...this one is for all of you who will drive home teary! It's ok.