Gradually Graduating to Freedom
Lately I've noticed that fear is becoming an emotion I'm less willing to put up with. I think it must have something to do with the fact that I've been its captive so often while bringing up children. The list of things to be afraid of is endless and rules so many of our decisions as modern parents. (whether or not that is healthy or even rational is an idea to tackle another time) So as I'm doing an inventory of what I'll miss and what I won't, fear heads the list for the latter. I also won't miss: tantrums in public, drastic mood swings, stepping on Legos, (and hearing them bouncing around inside the vacuum) and feeling positive that I am doing it all wrong and it is all going to end with my turning two really warped individuals out into society....if I don't call Human Services and turn myself in first. So all of that worrying and insecurity and the reading of countless parenting books...um no, won't miss that.
I know that this is where you expect me to list all the things I WILL miss. I'm sure that list is just the same as most of yours. Just fill in all the sweetness of them on a good day and you get the picture. Fat little feet running down a beach, a birthday cake with dinosaurs, the simple happiness of playing in a sprinkler...mud. But one thing that I will remember above everything else; reading to them. Coming home from the library with more books than little arms could carry, Little Women aloud by the fireplace, wondering how Robinson Crusoe would survive, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Pollyanna, Winnie the Pooh....Peter Rabbit. Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon. Sometimes I wander into the children's section of the bookstore and sigh. But not to worry, along with one large dollhouse and THOUSANDS of Legos, there is a very large collection of books put away for some future little people that may come my way.
I've had many parents of adult children tell me lately that it isn't ever really over and being a parent to adult children is difficult. Define difficult. I get that I'll worry a bit about them always and hope they make good decisions and are happy but let's face it, whatever it is, I won't be legally responsible for it. No one is going to look at me and wonder why I can't make them behave. There will not be WWIII over a Happy Meal or blood curdling screams over a lost toy. Some of those things may be in my future, but at that point I'll be able to pick up the phone and say "They are ready to come home now."
So come Saturday morning when my son walks across the stage I'll mentally call the thing over. It won't be that clean I'm sure. I'm taking tissues just in case and I'm on the watch for some super emotional mom meltdown but so far so good. After that I'm going shopping and planning a trip. Guilt free. Tenacity is a good character quality but there comes a time the best thing you can do for the people you love is open your arms...and let go.
Note: My son has graduated since this was written and I am happy to report that there were no tears or emotional melt downs. I did however, fairly rapidly, ship him off to China but more about that later...