Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letting go

Today is the final day of summer vacation, and tomorrow the middle child of  my three kids goes back to school.  One more thing that has me yearning for the 'old days.'  There's no longer just ONE first-day-of-school.  The high schooler starts tomorrow, the middle schooler and the college student go back on Monday.  Although, today IS a social for the middle schooler, who is actually in "junior high" now, since she changed schools this year.

See how complicated my life is???

Aside from trying to keep all of this straight, I'm suffering from an extreme case of not wanting to let go.  I know, I know, anyone in my family reading this right now is shaking his head in disbelief, since I'm the one who hangs the American flag to celebrate the first day(s) of school each fall.  But this year, my middle child is starting his senior year in high school.  Which means that in exactly one year from now, he'll be leaving me.  Forever.  This is the only one of my three children who cried on the first day of Kindergarten because he didn't want me to leave (the other two wanted to drive themselves, and when I insisted on taking them and walking into the classroom with them, it was all they could do not to say, "See ya, Mom, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.")

As weird as this sounds, Middle Child has been a kind of security blanket for me. My first born was the first baby in our family -- first grandchild, first nephew, first everything.  Everyone wanted a piece of him.  By the time, my middle child came along, there were lots of babies to cuddle, so I had him all to myself and he preferred it that way.  He is the child who always made me look good, insisting on staying by my side any time we went out in public, quiet and soft spoken. He is so loyal to me and my sensitivities.  His very presence has always been a comfort to me, from the time I still had him with me when older child went to school, to camp, and finally to college,  and to our cross country trip together when he helped me drive or stayed awake the entire time I was doing the driving.

There is something about this boy, that the thought of him going off to school, far away, just makes me well up and want to sob all day.  Today, he is heading off to the mall to buy some school supplies, and he looked at me just a little weird when I begged to go along and promised him a Happy Meal at McDonald's.  (Although the free lunch did have him hesitate for just a split second).

I promise to savor every moment of the coming school year, and if I get cranky and start to wish a moment or an event to be over. . . someone, anyone, smack me upside the head.


Jackie said...

Hi Karen,

This post brought tears to my eyes. I can already see how fast it's going with my boys. Hang in there!!



Sharon said...

The only thing that allowed me to let the strings be cut with my only son, was the knowledge that I wanted an independent, responsible and mature son as an adult, which meant letting him be shaped by others outside my home. That is where their skills with conflict, temptation, and perseverance are honed....after a good and sure foundation has been laid about manners, values and beliefs.

He is now 30, and my love and pride for him grows as I see the man he is becoming -- this final year of his high school, capture some mental photos of special events to enjoy when he has left the nest.

Renna said...

I know how you feel. :-(

I still vividly remember a day when my son (oldest child) was 5 years old, and about to begin kindergarten. I was tucking him into his bottom bunkbed one night (told you it was a vivid memory). All of a sudden it hit me that I no longer had a baby. He was getting ready to be a 'big boy', and I knew his need for me would never be as great as it had been up to that moment. I went to bed and cried my eyes out.

That son is nearly 35 now, and I'm happy to report that I get to see him frequently, and he occasionally even 'needs' me. It's a good thing, too; as his baby sister, born 8 1/2 years after him, flew the coop as quickly as she could, and has lived overseas ever since. She still lets me know often how much she needs me, though. ;-)

Renna said...

PS-I meant to mention what a good looking boy your son is! :-)

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh, that was so sweet! Great pictures of him :) I know it's hard and it's just going to get harder, but you're right - just try to enjoy every single minute you can while he's here and a senior. Create wonderful memories for him and for you :)

Marilyn said...

As a mom and a teacher I know both sides of the first day of school. Even though my daughter is 29, I still get her new clothes for fall! I think I always will because my mom still does the same for me!! Treasure every moment. ♥♫

Paula said...

What a neat relationship you seem to have with your son! It seems like you are really enjoying the moment and the memories.

Judy said...

You will never know how much I enjoyed that trip you took last year. I believe it was the only vacation I had, and you brought me along. You didn't know it, but I was there.

As you know - that senior year just flies by.., enjoy!

(and adult children are WONDERFUL!)

Sherri said...

Hi Karen, I know just how your feel! My girls are grown and married now but I still remember those days! HUGS to you and hang in there!

Country Dreaming said...

Kids grow sooo fast and I'm sure it is hard to let them go. I know that you have done your best and he'll be fine. Enjoy the year.


Jen said...

I think this post is precious...he looks like you too. i say savor it all...one day they will all be gone...:(

Flat Creek Farm said...

What a nice looking young man, then and now!! I know all too well how fast those school years pass. Enjoy them while they last. Hugs! -Tammy

Robin said...

Ah, I feel your heart Karen. When we birthed these babies not so many years ago, nobody ever told us about these times did they? And if they did, well, it just didn't seem possible. Now the day is here.

Your son sounds like he is of excellent character and since he takes such wonderful care of his mama, there is a very lucky girl out there somewhere who will be blessed because of it. But don't think about that today!!

Enjoy this last year together - I am sure it will be full of wonderful times for you two to share!

Bill said...

Boy, I'm glad I didn't read this at work. Ten to one, my office door would have flown open and someone would have said "What's wrong? Are you okay? Why the tears?"
Probably because I remember how my mom had tears streaming down her face when she & Dad pulled away from my college dorm, and I was happy to see them pull away so I could be a big man on my own.
You have written a beautiful tribute to your son, Karen. He sounds like quite a gentleman.
And you are an incredible MOM!

Rizzi said...


Becky said...

Well first of all ... my GOODNESS what a handsome young man. Perhaps you had better lock him in the closet before he breaks some poor girl's heart.

I feel for you. I really do. It is so hard to let them go. But that is our job. To raise them up and let them go. It's the only job in the world where our goal is to be out of a job. Fortunately they DO come back. Usually with dirty laundry :)

Leslie said...

I feel it all!!
Hang in there my friend.
Happy Monday

Susanne said...

I so, so relate. I still miss my girl incredibly and it's been two years since she went off to school.

You hanging the flag on the first day of school made me smile.