Yesterday was tough. Exactly a day to a time many years ago when I watched my high school sweetheart drive off to college, car packed full of LPs, stereo, and some clothes, I found myself  helping my eldest son move into his freshman dorm.

Among all the mixed emotions of the day, I could not get the picture out of my mind of seeing that old car pull out and go. I felt so alone then. Abandoned.

Those feelings welled up again yesterday. I recognized them, and across the years the visceral memory was fresh. I had done this before, had seen a young man I loved take a big step away from me and into the excitement of university life.

There is a pain so deep, so familiar, and so very strange as well. It is surreal. Both strong and gentle men. Both reliable Pisces. Both good friends.

There are, of course, differences.

A child I carried, birthed and cradled in my arms became a man so fast that I’m absolutely stunned.

How many times have I endured the unsolicited advice to savor every minute with my child because it all flies by so quickly?  Higher mind knows this. Heart fights it. Helpful people annoy.

A friend of mine who is a fabulous father told me that he’s been depressed about it for several years. Worse with each child. He warned me to be ready for more helpful comments from the well-intentioned about how wonderful it must be to finally have a quiet, empty home. From what planet do these people launch?

To give them the benefit, I’ll assume some people prefer the distance from their children. For me, as for my friend, these kids are interesting, interested people. The idea that months will turn before I share coffee at the kitchen table with my son is unimaginable. But it is the new reality. No matter what, I can’t change the facts. As with all passages, I can struggle or I can choose to just roll with it. .

I knew this day would come. But nothing can prepare you for it when your time arrives. Your heart gets ripped out, and the hardest part of it all is to not transmit the depth of your pain to your child. He knows your sadness, but he will never know the whole story until it becomes his turn to experience a similar day with his own offspring.  To come unhinged in his presence would be selfish. He doesn’t need my baggage with all the changes he is undergoing.

We raise them to leave. If I’ve done my job well, my son will embrace this new journey. I will as well. I love you son!

(c)GoshGusMusic(2010)photo cjarc(c)

19 thoughts on “Passaggio: How Could It Be?

  1. Dearest Soprano:
    You have given this child the best (and a blessed) gift: knowledge of self. He is an individual, whole, and very giving. Yes, you will miss him. Just imagine how many – lesser – individuals will grow immeasurably sitting around drinking coffee with him.
    Here’s a random and wonderful thought about your “other Pisces:” he brought me to you. Twice.
    Take comfort in that your effort in raising a fully integrated child has given the world a fine man.
    Also, he’s a great hugger.

  2. Oh Mary! Thank you for your kind words and loving support.
    To be blessed as I am with these fine sons, and the best girlfriends a woman could have- I am lucky and grateful.

    He really is a good hugger! Think maybe he caught on from all the hugs he received.

  3. From Facebook
    Marcie wrote
    Christine, this is so poignant and so spot on. I will keep your aching heart in my prayers as you share in your son’s rite of passage

  4. From Facebook
    Kathryn says
    I chose to have children. At each age, you worry about their safety, and tell yourself, -when they just get a little older you won’t have to worry. But, the stakes just keep getting higher and higher, as you love them more and more. You never stop worrying about them, because no one is ever truly “safe” in life.

  5. From Facebook
    Russ P. says
    Thanks for sharing this Christine. I dropped my middle one off at the dorms today. Actually, he drove himself. I drove the old van with a load of his stuff. We have all 3 of our boys in college this year. But the youngest is living at home for 2 more years while attending the local community college. He actually asked us if we’d mind if he lived at home for another 2 years! Easy decision. He’s a pleasure and we love having him at home.

    The oldest one has been out for several years now, so we’ve been adjusting to the process of them leaving home. He still visits us about every other weekend. He likes doing his laundry here. So they all come and go… it’s a slow evolution. Not sure that they will ever be completely out…

  6. And this too shall pass, and a new relationship will be born – the adult relationship with your son, and though different and although you will always be the parent, equally rewarding. I’ve watched my son grow into a fine, responsible and delightful young man, now a husband. His sense of humor intact, his loving kindness always at the fore and his contribution to the world a gift indeed.

    You have much to look forward to as well as that you just gave up. My thoughts are with you.


  7. Sweet Susan,
    Thank you for you comforting words and empathy. The rewards of motherhood are infinite and seem ever greater with time. I like your reminder of that.

  8. My mom had a hard time with me being gone as well, even though I was only a couple of hours away! I’m her oldest.

    Here I am looking at your blog – I’ve given my WordPress to you, so feel free to check it out. 🙂 *hug*

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