“Give children wings to fly and roots to return” – Waleuska Lazo
I knew this moment was going to come. After all, ever since she was born, I dreamed about what college/university she was going to go to, but when that moment actually comes, nothing really prepares you for it.
As I was making her bed in her dorm room, so many memories flashed before me. It was just yesterday I brought her home from the hospital and now here I was given a two-hour window to drop her off and leave her in her new home. Where did the time go?
I remember dropping her off on her first day of JK and this little girl cried for hours for me. I cried too. I hid behind a wall outside the school and peeked through the exterior window to see if she was ok.
As much as she was feeling the separation, I was too. We had been connected at the hip for so long. For 10 straight days my little girl cried as I dropped her off at school, and so did I.
On our drive to the Western University I was warned not to cry, “Mommy, please don’t cry. I will be home in a few days to visit,” she said. What a change from the JK days, I thought. As a mom, nothing really prepares you to let go. I know it is the natural course of life to see her go and tackle the next stage of her life, but boy, I was having some major anxiety. I had to fight to hold the tears. She looked so happy; I did not want to ruin her moment. We had bought all her new dorm room things during the summer months for this big day — Drop Off Day!
I was worried about her being able to leave the nest. Victoria was the kind of kid who was timid and never wanted to be away from me. So, sleepover camps were never a thing for her. A sleepover with friends was also not a big thing for her.
Due to her early years of selective mutism, I overprotected her and kept her under my warm embrace. Any travel, we always did together. Aside from a few nights on her high school field trips, Victoria and I did not want to be apart.
My beautiful baby was now a young woman ready to take a leap of faith and leave the nest. This incredible being was now ready to extend her wings and fly. I stood right next to her, as moms always do, ready to catch her in case she fell, but to my surprise, she extended her arms, kissed me goodbye, and flew. She flew without hesitation as if she knew she was born to soar high.
I fought the impulse we mothers have to still hold on a few more minutes, but with a lump in my throat, I let her go. Now it’s her time to discover what she’s made of, time for her to apply and put into practice all I taught her with love and devotion. Now was also my time to trust what we spent the past 18 years building.
But why is so difficult to let go?
I hear her voice each morning and each night. We talk about her day and sometimes the conversations are so short, but the sound of her voice is enough to appease my heart.
“Did you eat breakfast?
What did you have for dinner?
How was class? What did you learn?
Do you miss Mommy?
Did you make sure you locked your car?
Make sure when you walk from campus that you are never alone. If you are alone and you sense someone walking behind you, run.
Use your pepper spray.
What do you mean you don’t want to rent the condo in the building I found?
What do you mean socially it is more fun to be in a house?
I don’t think a house is as safe
What??? You got a new piercing in your ear? Why did you not mention it to me before doing it?”
I guess the reason is self-explanatory, but that felt different. My baby who consulted me on everything, actually made a decision of her own.
She is on her own, making her own decisions –I am not used to that. My helicopter pilot light is still on, but definitely losing power. Does that mean she does not need me anymore? Am I not indispensable? She is ok without me? She is actually loving being away and being independent?
Why is it so difficult to let go?
After all, this is what I planned for her entire life; for her to feel confident and safe to go and take on the world. It was what I’ve always dreamed for her; to have the courage to face her fears, to choose her own path, to grow and evolve, to make her own decisions, to make mistakes and learn from them, to love freely, to be herself, to find her resilience and inner strength, to make new friends, to seek other connections, to chase her dreams, to discover her passions.
So, do I tell her that each time she comes home my heartbeat finally returns?
Do I tell her that each time we say goodbye a part of my soul leaves with her?
Do I tell her that I think of her every moment of my day?
Do I tell her that when I hold her in my arms my world feels so complete?
Why is it so difficult to let go?
Do all mothers feel this torn? We know that a good mother is the one who makes herself dispensable, unnecessary, one who helps her children develop into confident, productive adults but on the other hand, we are left feeling empty without them. Yet, if we have done our job correctly, then we must accept becoming dispensable. We must understand that our children come through us but they are not for us. We must understand that our mission was for them to hatch from our embrace and fly free at last.
But why is it so difficult to let her go?
Dedicated to my beautiful Victoria!
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