Like my friend put it, it is a ‘weird feeling’, sending off your kid to college. There are a few moms I know who are going through this weirdness this month. For some moms it is the first child, like me. For some it’s their second or third child and they have no more at home. For me, this is my first one, the one who has taught me most of the firsts of parenting from caring for a newborn, to teenage years, to everything a young boy goes through in their first 17 years of life. He made me better prepared for the second one.
What is prepping for college? I don’t know. I guess it is savoring every moment you have with the not-so-little-one before they walk out the door. It is not like you will never see them again, but what bites is that you will not spend years with them under the same roof, like there is no end. They will come for breaks and summer, but all those are finite times, a few weeks and they have to go. After college, they will decide where they want to live, work, and start chalking out their paths. So this is when the umbilical cord really slivers down to a bare minimum. Oh it never is cut completely, that I am sure of. You loosen the reign little by little, but you never ever let go.
I have not hit rock bottom yet, or had that crying like someone is ripping your heart out, but it will hit, sometime in the next few weeks. I am not quite sure what I am going to miss most. Most likely its the calling out ‘Ma’, a thousand times a day. It is always Ma, this or Ma, that or something else. Even if I am sitting next to him, his conversation always starts with ‘Ma’. Or the hug, or the bragging about muscles, protein, gym etc. I guess what I will miss the most is the singing. I don’t know. The feeling is of standing at the shore, waiting for that huge wave to come and drench you.
I don’t know how our parents did it. Let us go in a time without cell phones, just handwritten postal letters or a PCO booth, dinging at every minute. It is a strange feeling, because you have fed, nurtured, been with them through their emotions, held their hand, given them a hug every time they felt low, told them right from wrong, watched their every step.. Now you are letting them walk out the door into the wild, on their own. All you can do is sit back and wait and hope that you did well.
I know you may be thinking, what is the big deal, it may not be, but I know fear for their child is something almost every mom carries in their heart for their child. Fear of being safe, of eating good food, of taking care of their bodies, of being respectful and being respected, its a transition where we switch from being sure to hope. Hope that wherever our children may be they are healthy and happy.
Like I have said before, my children are the best thing that happened to me. My older one says to make me feel better, ‘but you’ve got the younger one’. It is just not the same. It is like 2 pieces of a puzzle, one cannot replace the other. A void is a void. So like everything else, this is the next phase in parenting. The most challenging one so far. Everything until now was easy peasy, compared to this. And now I fully well understand why they call it empty-nest. Whether you have a partial empty nest or a full empty one, hang in there Mama and believe that ‘you did well’.