Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sending them out . . .pulling them closer (when I can)

This summer has been a series of sending my children out into the world, and pulling them close when I can. It's what you do all the years of parenting for, but it isn't easy.

Our oldest went to Texas/New Mexico for 5 weeks. I know we are spoiled by having her in college right up the street. It's not that we (the parental units, anyway) see her that often. But we, and she, know we are only 5 minutes away, should we need each other for some reason. Of course we need each other, but in case we need direct contact. Having her 16 hours away was a new experience for all of us. She was homesick and we missed her. But we all grew through the experience.

12 hours after her return, our middle daughter left on the train for a week in Pittsburgh with our youth group. She was surrounded by people who love and care for her, but she was still going out into the world without us. After sitting at the train station for 45 minutes or so, she said "why are you still here?". It was 3:30 AM by that time, so we said our good-byes and left. She will be home before we know it. I know that's true, but I still miss her already!

In both of these letting gos, I have held it together, no crying. That's not normal for me. I used to cry leaving them at camp. As hard as it is for me to believe I can hold it together, I think it must be a natural step in parenthood. If I continued to cry every time they left me, I would be a basketcase. But it's weird, for sure. A new normal, I guess, to not have all of my chicks under my wing, or at least nearby. I've had people tell me "you need to loosen the apron strings" or similar platitudes. They have no idea.