Too many friends dropping off their children at college this year. Too many stories of hugs and tears. Too much to digest.
I have literally avoided thinking about it all and projecting until I see a photo or hear a story and then those familiar pangs begin to pull at my heart.
"The most important job of my life is done," I heard one father say. But that's not it at all. Our kids will still need us, but just in a different way and I'm not ready for this different way.
They will call when they are sick, or hurt by a troubled love, or need money, or advice. It's the day to day, take for granted luxury of living under the same roof that will be gone. And if not gone forever, forever changed.
Since I began writing about this separation process I have begun to understand the magnitude of this simple event--dropping your child off to college. For our generation, the generation of ALWAYS being there, the separation feels like the great divide in the Grand Canyon. Why is it so much harder for us to let go?
For lots of us mommies, we happily gave up careers to raise our tiny tots. And those of us who figured out how to work and ALWAYS be there, we happily gave up sleep and any time for ouselves. And then they leave us. So quickly. And that's what is supposed to happen.
I have little to say to my friends who are just back home, walking past their son or daughter's empty room. I say stupid stuff like, "Your child is going to be so happy!"
Inside I know what I want to say, "Cling tightly to their ankles with all your force and don't let them step across the threshold. Hold on tight."
I'm selfish, I know. I have a year to learn how to put my child's need before mine. I thought I was doing this for the last 17-years...but was I? Are my needs and my kid's need inexplicably linked?
To all my brave friends, I applaud you. Wildly. And cry as much as you want. You deserve it for a job well done!
11 months ago