“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Frederick Buechner
The day is here that every mother thinks about. It always seems so far away when you are raising children. When things are so busy and crazy… when the meals need to be made, the house cleaned, the bedtime stories read, the night time bubble baths drawn, family vacations planned. It seems so far away when we are living and loving our children through childhood.
The day that they will leave home. The day that your day-to-day job of caring for them and mothering them will change. The day that you are no longer the navigator in their life. The day that they take over the wheel.
It sneaks up on you. This day. It grabs you and shakes you into believing it is really here. It confuses you.. as you ask yourself where the time went? How it all went so quickly? As you ask yourself if you did it good enough? If you spent the special gift of time you were given well enough? If you made more memories than mistakes?
This day. This day… it is hypocritical. It fills you with sadness and grief in the same intensity that it fills you with joy and pride. Sadness and grief for the beautiful moments that will tug at your heart as you move into old age without your children. Joy and pride for the amazing souls you were blessed to guide and for a job hopefully well done on your part. It gives you a pat on the back and a lump in your throat. At once.
A new home. A new place. Away. Far away. Without you there. Physically.
Freedom. Independence. Space. This day now gives into those demands… those words… those protests you’ve been hearing throughout the teen years… This day now gives those things truth and leaves you behind as you wave goodbye with courage and love. As you let go. Trying to accept what is.
Little pieces of childhood follow them into this new day to keep them warm and tuck them in when you are not there. Little pieces that symbolize security, childhood, warmth and love. That remind them of you.
And a new view is in the distance. Filled with many new days… some you will share together but many you will share apart.
And the people who love them. Who have chosen to be their guides. Who chose consciously, steady and unconditionally to be there through the long haul. Thick or thin. Will still be there to put things back together if they ever fall apart. To offer support and advice when it is asked for.
But because of this day… this new day…. the truth is – that in the end, they will need to stand on their own. They will need to learn how to put things back together themselves at times. They will need to learn to do for themselves many of the things you have done for them for so long.
And as I process it all… I will remind myself that this day is not really an end… but a beginning. Something new. I will try.