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.