Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Melancholy Baby

It feels like he's already gone. He's not. Graduation was only 2 days ago and he's still snuggled in his bed enjoying the luxury of sleeping late. Really, not much has changed, but in my mind, everything has. I still have him for 73 more days, but it seems too short. It feels like the umbilical cord is tugging, like he's saying that it's time for him to go, to move on. I'm not prepared for this. I was the one who sat there scoffing at the women on Oprah who were having trouble when their kids went off to college. "I won't be like that," I boldly declared. "What losers!" Look at me now - not so brave, am I?

If I'm being honest, I'm scared for him. This isn't like starting high school or first grade when I could be there every night to calm his fears or talk about his new experiences. I won't be there. In fact, I'll be 5-1/2 hours away. I can't make sure he's locked his dorm room door. I can't remind him to eat a piece of fruit once in a while. I can't casually glance to make sure his zipper is closed, saving him from embarassment. It's time for me to let go and dammit, I'm not ready.

Suddenly, I want desperately to go backwards - to those days when he woke me up too early and followed me into the bathroom too often and asked too many questions and bothered me all day long. At least I was a participant in his life. Now I'm not sure who I am to him. He won't need me like before and so I have to redefine my role. I'll always be his mom, but have I now gone from all-knowing provider to the recipient of obligitory phone calls?

Of course it could be worse. He could have been trouble. He could have turned my hair grey and caused countless sleepless nights. He never did. He's always been a rare one - polite, shy, responsible, mature. Maybe that's what bugs me - I love being around him and I don't want him to go. It's like I put all this work in on him, it paid off and what do I get to show for that? "Thank you and don't let the door hit you on your way out."

I have to keep reminding myself that he's not dead. He's healthy, relatively happy, a little scared but cautiously optimistic about starting college and maybe a bit excited at going out on his own. He'll come home for a few summers and breaks and then eventually, he'll move out. It's what we've always wanted. When we read stories about kids that never moved out, we silently prayed that wouldn't be us. So, now why would we feel differently?

With sweet irony, I think of the old adage: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Damn.


At 10:10 AM , Blogger Progressive Indian-American Woman said...

Hi Wallymom,

A great post.. and I write as one whose firstborn will also leave for college in 70-odd days. I felt a catch in my throat as I read the parts about how this is nothing like sending the kid off to first grade or even high school.

"Be careful what you wish for..." is my favorite(?) adage as well :-)

I share with you too, the same contradictory emotion - I like being around this person that I had a role in creating (is it okay to say she is my best friend?) and even though my head recognizes that growing up and moving on is part of the "circle of life", my heart wants her to grow up and spreah her wings and soar even as it wants to hold her close and ease her path.

At 2:28 PM , Blogger Sheila Hageman said...

Hi. I just found your blog as I was blog-surfing. This post made me stop and appreciate what I have (a one-year-old daughter). Thanks!

At 11:43 PM , Anonymous Lou said...

Try not to sob hysterically and run into teh house distraught when your baby leaves for college- at least not until after he's gone. My mom did that and the memory is burned into my brain forever. It was awful.

At 10:16 AM , Blogger Cindy said...

Hi Wallymom...I notice you don't have TrackBack, but I wanted to let you know I lnked this post on and quoted you on my own blog here:

Your post was so moving, and really struck a chord with me as a mom of children in various stages of young adulthood. Beautiful!


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