March 10, 2010

Dear Mommies and Daddies,

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As the car slowly made its way up the long, narrow road surrounded on both sides by dense pine forests, I was beaming. My son was interviewing for a college scholarship and might have the opportunity to live in this heavenly place for the next four years. I breathed in the beauty of nature, hoped to spy the deer that roam in abundance, and welled up with excitement that my son had been invited for an overnight stay to interview for this prestigious scholarship.

Then we got to the end of our journey- the destination.

I watched the other seniors lining up to register. They were grown men and women. What on earth was my son doing here with all these grown-ups?

We stood aimlessly watching, waiting to be told our part, what we parents needed to do. Then the verdict came, “You’re free to go. See you tomorrow.”

What? That’s it? Just leave my son here with all these strangers and walk away?

I turned to look at my boy. Then I saw, I really saw. He wasn’t a boy. He was a man. A young man who was happy and excited and not the least bit mindful that his parents were walking away and leaving him on that mountain…alone…with all those strangers.

I hurried to the safety of the car. A tsunami of emotion swept over me as we drove away and I fought so hard against tears that refused to be stopped. I hadn’t expected this. We were only leaving him overnight for an interview. We weren’t leaving him there for good.

But in that moment when I had looked at him, longing to run and tell him it would be okay instead of quietly walking away, I heard the snip of the last apron string. It echoed loudly in my mind. He’s grown. My job is nearly done. How did we get here so fast? What would I give to go back in time and savor every moment?

Mommies and Daddies, take the time to write journals, to snap photos, to listen, to care, to spend time with your children. Live every moment and record every memory. For one day, sooner than you think, the chubby hands won’t be there to hold, the warm hugs will be replaced by cold photos, and you will no longer be needed to kiss boo boos, to tuck in at night, to soothe fears and hush anxieties. One day you’ll be “free to go”.

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20 comments:

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

I was wondering how your weekend went! It is hard when you first realize they don't need you so much. Sounds like you're handling it well, though :-).

Cassandra Frear said...

I've gone through this moment a number of times. It's always hard. But I know that parenting has to be a job with a definite time limit. We can't do it forever!

Miss Sandy said...

As one who recently had her last apron string snipped I hear and AMEN all you are saying here. It arrived far faster than I thought it ever would and I marvel at how well they do without me. That is supposed to be the point isn't it, to raise them and then let them fly? Hugs to your heart dear one as you make this new transition in life.

Deanna said...

Feeling the same way...Sarah is a senior also. I'm there with you! I have to keep reminding myself "she is 18...she's an adult...this is what we aim for as parents..." but it is still hard. Thanks for your honesty.

Domestically Inclined said...

Oh Bonita I feel your pain. We raise them to become men, and when they are it hurts and the tears flow. I remember assuring them when they were young and hurt...it's ok, you'll be ok.
Now they are grown and strong, and tell me...it's ok Momma, it's ok. And with time...it really is. *hugs*

Deb said...

Excellent advice.

Even for grandparents.

Sweet dreams.

Kristen @ Moms Sharpening Moms said...

Wonderful reminders, Bonita. Thank you for this!

Jenn said...

Thank you for this post, Bonita. I have linked it to my blog. One reason I am so conscious about journaling & recording my daughters' childhoods is this very reason -- I know they will grow & fly away, leaving our nest quieter, tidier and lonelier. I feel better knowing I will have many spiral-bound books to "take me back" to this time.

My ADHD Me said...

You said that perfectly!

Bittersweet- Your post describes that word completely.

Be proud. (I know you are!) But not just of him. Be proud of yourself too. You obviously did a great job!

Kristen Myers said...

You evoked tears that keep flowing from my eyes even though my boys are only eight and six.

Thank you for the beautiful reminder that time is precious!

Melinda said...

Oh, Bonita!
So bittersweet! I am going through a rough parenting season right now, but I still want to ball when I read your post. Letting them go is going to be so hard ... I do it a little bit each day and it's torture!

Just got back for the Florida Christian Writers Conference! It was AWESOME... just the kind of creative boost we writers need now and then. ;0)

Miss Sandy said...

Bonita,

I wanted to drop by and let you know that you are missed. Thinking of you and hoping all is well.

April W Gardner said...

How heart-wrenching. The job of a mother is such a blessed thing. Too bad it's so short-lived...well, the 24/7 part. Thanks, Bonita, for sharing your heart with us.

Flamingo Mama said...

thank you for the reminder....i'm feeling this way and mine is only 8! well, he did tell me just last night he is just too old for my good night kisses:)

Jimmie said...

As the mom to an only child, I am quite aware of how quickly the time goes. And I have only one chance! This post really jerked at my heart strings.

The Scooper said...

Well these waterworks are now officially gushing! You're a few years ahead of me and I need reminding often, especially when those chubby hands have just smeared chocolate all over the sofa.

{And the fact that you've homeschooled is such an inspiration to those of us still very much in the early stages of the journey. Bravo!}

Richella said...

Yes, ma'am. "You're free to go" is the not what we want to hear, is it?

Last year my oldest son went through this process at USC. . . but it turned out that the week of the required interview was the week my husband had open-heart surgery. So Will traveled to Los Angeles and went through the process all alone. I think it was the day he got back from that trip that I heard my own apron strings being cut.

By the way, he got the scholarship. He elected not to take it, but he got it. I hope the same for your son.

Maybe some day we can get together and shed a few tears together. :)

Rachel said...

I have two young boys who keep me running. Of course, at times I feel the exhaustion set in, but I know it will not always be this way. It is good to be reminded that chubby hands won't always be there to hold. I must ENJOY these moments NOW! Your post is truly thought-provoking and I appreciate your advice. Thank you Bonita for your precious thoughts!

Terri said...

I ran new student orientation at a large university for 5 years, so I always saw this from the other side. Your words make it so real! And they encourage and inspire me to keep helping others make their memory albums and scrapbooks. Blessings!!!

Natasha said...

I want to cry now... My little girl is only 11 weeks old, but I know just what you mean. It seems only yesterday that I held her in my arms for the first time. Now, she's giving me big smiles, locking her eyes on me, holding her head up, and doing things she couldn't do that first day...

The advice about journaling is oh so true! I wish I journaled more than I do right now because it feels like her everyday antics are something that should be recorded. Yesterday, she even said "gaga"! I never even knew babies actually SAID that word.

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