It just happened. I didn’t cry. I needed him to know that I had confidence in him and that I was going to be just fine. We can’t let them see us sweat. We don’t want them worrying about us when they need to be focused on their new adventures. Admittedly, I may have held on a little longer in that last hug.
As much as I know that he’s not that far away, as much as I know he’ll be home some weekends and holidays, and as much as I know kids move home after they graduate sometimes, this felt BIG. And it felt big because it is big.
What strikes me is an overwhelming feeling of “everything is different now”. He may come home, but he’ll always be leaving again. Next year I’ll be dropping off his sister to University and the year after that, the next one is out the door. I'll lose half of my six children in the blink of an eye. The reality is, it is unlikely that my six children ever live under one roof again. Ever. And that's the kind of reality that feels overwhelming.
I see you all there with your babies and toddlers trying to make it through the day. I remember filling those days – naps, diapers, walks to parks, middle of the night feeds. I know everyone finds it so hard, but I kind of didn’t. I loved those days. But I blinked and then they were over and I was onto the next phase. I loved all those school-aged kids with their play dates and hockey practices. Then I blinked again.
I now have two tweens and four teenagers. I love this phase too, but there is this feeling that hovers over me that the end of the bulk of my parenting role is near. And don’t get me wrong, I know they always say the hardest part of parenting is the first 50 years. I know it never ends, but it changes. Significantly.
So, as I send my first off, I remember what my mom told me: The best gift parents can give their children is roots and wings. It’s okay that I feel a little proud, but also a little sad that my job is done.
Off you go, my son. Here you were, going with mama to her first day of Law School, and now it's your first day and you're headed off into this journey all on your own. My, how the tables have turned.