Beverly Beckham said it well:
I wasn’t wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn’t the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.
But it was the end of something. “Can you pick me up, Mom?” “What’s for dinner?” “What do you think?”
I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.
And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.
And then they were gone, one after the other.
“They’ll be back,” my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals — not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.
Always is what you miss…
…Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that’s what going to college is. It’s goodbye.
It’s not a death. And it’s not a tragedy.
But it’s not nothing, either.
To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.
To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.
The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.
Life does go on.
“Can you give me a ride to the mall?” “Mom, make him stop!” I don’t miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine.
I am so proud of our daughters. They are bright, shining, competent and caring. They are trying new skills, new languages, new responsibilties. We cheer them on from the sidelines in this move from “parenting” to “coaching.” They are indeed missed — but they are where they need to be. It’s where we have prayed them to be for all these years. And instead of me being the “sun” I know that GOD smiles down on them, cherishing them, guiding them and always, always watching over them.
Thanks be to God.
— See the complete column by Beverly Beckham at Boston.com —
As my oldest appraoches High School this year I am unfortunately already beginning to understand what all of this means. 😦
All I can tell you is that life is about growth and change. And sometimes, that growth is hard. But it’s better than stagnation. Cherish the moments.
I share your experience this year. My husband and I are disoriented and not sure what makes sense anymore, like the empty cupboard where the pop-tarts were. Driving home from work is the hardest part, since our sons were babies I could not wait to see their faces and hear their voices. The best part of our married life has been parenting, a privilege and joy unlike any other. Still, I am looking forward to good things ahead, and know that the ‘always’ happens when they call me, “Mom.”
Goodness, that’s poignant. And a good metaphor to remember!
It’s hard for me to realize your youngest was only around 2 when I first joined the PAM list. You were always one those ‘experienced’ moms in my eyes.
Well, I was nursing my second… So I had a little experience, I guess. But it doesn’t seem THAT long ago!