This is part of series of posts I started to countdown my son leaving for college. Click here for the first post.
I have avoided writing this series because I don’t write it, then it’s not happening: I’m holding back time. But some undeniable and brilliant shifts, growth spurts, and loosening of expectations in our house has reminded me the countdown is on.
I go through the motions we have to go through and avoiding feeling, thinking, or imagining him launching next year. I guess I’m like many moms… I HOPE I’m in the ballpark. Really, I don’t know because we don’t often discuss this process until they go. So I’m going to make a few assumptions….
We book college visits, but we avoid discussing GOING there once we’re back home.
We address grades over dinner, while we cut up the chicken we don’t really want, “Hey, how are your grades, you know those colleges want to see all A’s.” We want their best, but we don’t want them to actually GO to the college (that we know doesn’t really need all A’s).
We lightly discuss majors, or interests, or other things they don’t have answers to because they don’t understand what’s coming as we understand it. They are thinking about girls or boys, their report, the TV show, their Instagram or Vine.
In coming to this page honestly navigating this process allows me to slowly simmer in ending one phase of my purpose of protector/ teacher/ guide/ nurse/ therapist/ pseudo-Uber ride to anywhere into a transformative adult relationship.
Otherwise, I know what I’ll do.
I’ll squash any hint of him wanting to flutter.
I’ll control instead of influence.
I’ll go to his room and pressure him to say the day was “good”, his friends “fine” even though it wasn’t just because I need connection. It’s tougher to allow a few days to go by where he may say nothing and when he surfaces, it’s gold.
If I don’t lean in, accepting the slight nuances of his fluttering from the nest, I’ll resent the years I stayed home for him. I’ll believe the best years of my life are getting ready to be carried with him out of the door in 74 weeks.
Or, it will be worse.
I’ll find new places to go, things to do, and not include him because well, now it’s my turn. I’ll do this with a twist of bitterness, creating a wall because at least then, I’ll have a life before he has his and maybe I won’t hurt.
I refuse this.
I’m choosing gut wrenching, truth telling presence to both processes – his as he is fluttering, and mine as I accept and grieve.
And I’m learning that for everything I’ve ever done as a mom, quite possibly the most difficult and courageous thing to do is to love a teen as they flutter their wings.
And to not look away.
Not push before they are ready.
And to let the process happen at whatever pace, whatever timing.
This is where life soars and anything less is crippling.
I know he was made for this. I’m trying to figure out how I am.
Vikki Spencer , The Mom Whisperer, Mom Coach