Tag Archives: letting go

Time to Cry Tuesday – Going, Going, Gone

“Mom, when are we going to go and get my stuff?”

That was the question in the last dream I had before I woke up. And there I was lying in bed thinking of what a busy day I had today and how guilty I felt that I did not have time to go with him to ‘get his stuff’.

Until I realized that there was no stuff to get (we had surely ‘gotten’ more ‘stuff’ over the past 4 days than humanly possibly). AND there was no Danny.

Yes, kiddies, after a year of ‘lasts’ and goodbyes ad nauseum as each of his friends left for college, my boy finally left too. Taking pride in being a family that is not prone to drama we were about on our last nerve until the moving day finally came. It feels like he has been going for so long I wonder why I felt so shocked this morning that he was actually gone.

So here is the thing; it comes in waves. When you think you have totally got your shit together and you know your kid is ready – and frankly so are you(ish) –  it grabs you around the chest and chokes you so can barely breathe. You know it is time for him to move on to start his LIFE (note the caps) and time for you to discover the next phase of yours. Of course you know all this!

And then there is that moment. Like the one in the Starbucks on State Street while I was ordering Shaken Iced Tea Lemonades and they had the nerve to play Cat Stevens Father and Son:

It’s not time to make a change,

Just relax, take it easy.

You’re still young, that’s your fault,

There’s so much you have to go through…

And there was my boy, sitting in the dim light at the back of the Starbucks with the sunlight streaming in through the window shining an eery glow around his silhouette. There he was with his scruffy beard and his Allman Bros. t-shirt and I realized that I had no choice but to let him go… for real.

And yes, I did start to cry right then and there in the Starbucks on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. And no he was not all that happy with me but he did get it. Because he knew that by the end of the weekend when we left him and his sister, we would be leaving half our family halfway across the country. And there is simply nothing easy about that.

… Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, family, Jana, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Zen and the Art of Letting Go

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There are times in your life when you simply have to let it go. When you are a parent – and a control freak to boot – letting go is not the easiest thing to do.

But I know better. Time marches on and either we march along with it or we get trampled. Ok, so maybe I feel some boots on my back right about now. And I know I am not alone.

So, to all of you who are trying to march into step with the graduation class of 2010, here it is: the Time to Cry Tuesday post about graduating your youngest child.

The other day, during the 4-hour end of school/pre-camp errand, Danny and I found ourselves in the bookstore and I came across Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. This 1974 novel was one of my most favorites back in the day – whenever the hell ‘the day’ was. Maybe High School, or college. I like to recommend some quality books to my kids in between the trash so I suggested that he read this. After being rejected by over 121 publishers it went on to sell over 4 million copies and was translated into 27 languages.

I suppose I was not alone in my love for this book.

While he browsed, I stopped at the Starbucks to try to alleviate the sleep-deprived haze I found myself in that is all too familiar this time of year. I began to refresh my memory by reading the back of the book. Up until this moment I had done a damn good job of holding it together. He is ready. He is excited. He is moving on to the next chapter of his life with the confidence and unbridled passion that only a young man of almost 18 could have.

I was good, I tell you, until I read this:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination about how we live… and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better… an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America’s Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear – growth, discovery and acceptance – that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life’s fundamental questions…

And that was when it happened. I broke. There in the Starbucks while ordering the grande iced latte (not even half caff, for G-d sake) I could not breathe. What if I had not imparted enough to him? Could I have done more? Could I have ‘lived better’ by example? Why did I never take a motorcycle trip cross country with him when he was younger ? (ok, that one is a stretch) Wait, I need a do over! I am sure there is some colossal parenting task I did not achieve well enough. Seriously, it went too fast, how could he make it without me?

And then I looked across the store.  And there he was, with that scruffy almost-beard and that ultra-confident, but in no way cocky little swagger that he has. And I realized the only wisdom that was not realized was my own:

The Art of Letting Go.

My friends, the road is long. And then it ends(ish). But as we who have graduated the siblings before these kids know, being a parent is a life-long job. And this stage is in many ways more fun than any of them. They are the people we grew from babies.

Their own people. And with any luck they will take care of US when we are old. (which may be sooner than I think if I don’t get some sleep soon)

To my boy, may we always have days like these past few weeks we have shared. Thanks for humoring me through them. And for making me so very proud to be your mom.

I love you. Now go and be all you can be.

And be careful.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Winging to Wisco

Headed out to Wisconsin today with the kids. This state is really serious about their badgers, enough so that they feature one on the wing of the Midwest Airlines plane.

For those who live under a rock do not follow college sports, the badger is the UW mascot. We are here for my son’s orientation and my daughters sheer pleasure to be back after 5 months away.

The realization that both my kids will be living in the same college town has hit hard today. They could not be happier and for me, knowing they will be here together makes letting go the second time a lot easier.

Ok, I lied. I am insanely jealous that they will be here together, but in a good way. As I told Jana today, I may be losing him, but she is getting him back.

Go Badgers!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under college, danny, family, Jana

Time to Cry Tuesday – This is not a dress rehearsal…

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time, until next year when I will have another graduate to write about. I wrote this before I was a blogger. It was an email I sent to those who had been parenting with me since preschool. It was written on the morning of my daughter’s HS graduation. Funny how I have become the mom in the last paragraph. Perfect timing as she is leaving tomorrow for the summer after just a few short weeks at home.

This one is for all my girls (and guys) who are launching their girls (and a guy) this year: to Jo (& Mo), Karen (& Todd), Joyce (& David), Maddee (& Alan), Susan (& Neil), Michelle (& Daryl), Lisa (& Rob), and Nancy (& Uncle Neal). Grab your tissues and your hats, this one is not for the faint of heart!

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown. 

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school. 

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’. 

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!” 

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country! 

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown! 

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?! 

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’. 

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’. 

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point. 

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.  

let the games begin!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

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