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Time Passages

A little over four years ago, I wrote a post in praise of our oldest son, Christian (pictured above, a few weeks ago near the summit of Mount Washington).  I can't believe how quickly those years have gone by.  Time does not flow at a constant rate, of this I am convinced. 

A week from today, we're driving him down to Virginia so that he can begin college life.  He'll be attending The University of Mary Washington and majoring (this semester, at least) in Political Science.  It's the beginning of a grand adventure for him, and we could not be more pleased for him. 

I'll tell you, though: it's hard to let him go.  I have vowed a solemn vow that I will not be one of those "helicopter moms" you read about, but the temptation is there.  As Chris Rock says, "I don't condone it, but I understand it." 

James and I were talking as I drove him to his oboe lesson this morning.  He said it was just starting to hit him that Christian was leaving.  You have to understand: they have been best friends for almost 15 years.  They almost never fight; they're closer than any two brothers I've ever seen.

James said, "I'm a little sad."  Understatement. 

I refrained from piling on, but what I was thinking was that life as we know it will never be the same.  Even when Christian comes home for vacations, he will have moved on from the shelter of the nuclear family, will have progressed and become different.  Our relationships will change.  And that's good.  Heaven forbid that he should become one of those slacker 30-year-olds still living with Mom and Dad. 

But I wish there were a way to freeze this moment in time.  I'm beginning a grand adventure, too, that of a mother of adult children.  But I'll confess that a large part of me wants to hang back and keep my chicks under my wings for a little longer.  I've got another 15 years of kids at home, and I'll savor every moment as much as I have the past 17.5 years.  (Maybe even a little more, now that Anne is nearly potty trained, and I'm nearly free from the almost 18-year servitude to the changing of diapers.) 

But next week, as we drive away from that gorgeous college campus, I'll be marking the beginning of the end of a precious stage of my life.  Yeah.  As happy as I am for my son and all he has accomplished thus far, I'm a little sad, too.

Reader Comments (8)

Oh gosh, you made me cry. My oldest is a senior this year and we're just starting into the college applications. She's also applying to the ROTC Air Force and Army. My heart catches every time I think of it. I spent many years wondering when the intensity of motherhood would end, now that it's coming I'm not ready.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJosi

Each of your children is a gift to the world. I hope you'll be able to celebrate the moments at which each one flies free. I'm beginning to anticipate the same sadness though, as our eldest comes nearer to leaving for university.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLemongrass

I am feeling a bit teary as well. As hard as it was getting my oldest off to college last year, I am dreading sending two away next year. Watching you go through it this year is amplifying my dread.

My heart goes out to James, to you, to little Anne, to the whole family. Good and great things are happening, but there is some pain that goes along with it. As a friend of mine said: "It was hard sending my oldest off to school, harder than I thought it would be. The only thing that would have been harder would be if he had stayed home."

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

There's so much bittersweetness wrapped up in these transitioning times, and oh how it fluctuates between the better and the sweet! I'm excited for your boy and all the adventure ahead of him, but yes, "a little sad." How can it not be?

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Oh, my dear. Now you know. XOXO

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuisa

Wow. Such pain to go along with the good. That seems to be how it always is. Every time we pass a milestone at my house, I celebrate while I hurt that the milestone is gone.

Love for you and prayers for all of you.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEowyn

You know how I feel about it.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Tears! It's almost too much, isn't it? The only thing that propels us forward is the great love we have for them and what is best for them, and you're right, the alternative of a 30 year old living at home is not what we want! Motherhood hurts. I, too, have realized with sadness that life is just never going to be the same again, since Dylan left, and now Lyndsay prepares to. I miss those old days! I want more time!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Consolo

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