“(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

Kleinkind beim Laufen

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(April, 2011)

My son, my first-born made his final decision for college in September. He’s excited, thrilled and after celebrating with him, I slipped away and am now holed up in my bedroom, sobbing. It’s not like I haven’t been prepared for this, it’s not like he’s still six it just feels like he was six a moment ago. He’s my boy and as much as I know how happy he is with his choice, the deposit put me over the edge. I fell apart; it was now official.

I know I am being ridiculous, this is not sudden bad news but it feels like a total shock to me. I am weeping and I can’t explain it except to say that while I am so happy for him, I feel vastly sorry for myself. This is my son, my first child, the kid I called “buddy” so many times my husband was worried people would think that was his name. This boy is a delight, a warm, compassionate, smart young man. At the age of 2 1/2 he stunned a grown-up friend when he used the word “compromise.” When the friend doubted him and asked him if he knew what that meant, he explained it beautifully: “If I want to go to bed at 9 and my daddy says 7 then we compromise in the middle.” You can’t argue with facts.

(June, 2011)

I lost it today, in the supermarket between the pizza rolls and the pizza bagels, two past favorite foods of my son. The tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying, quietly, discreetly but that was just strength of will on my part. I could have sobbed but I held myself together. My son is graduating High School in a week and a half. The day after, he leaves to go to his old camp to be a counselor. I never liked being left, that’s for sure. My parents left me alone a lot when I was younger so they could travel together in Europe. I would cry hysterically but once the yellow taxi disappeared from the view from my sixth floor kitchen window, I was alright.

I feel, like many other mothers and fathers feel that he is leaving me and us, the family. I know I am overreacting but this is how I feel. It’s a great thing, a joyful thing but the good feeling hasn’t caught up to my heart yet. In time, I’m sure it will. I just have to get used to it but it is a drawn out process.  I like to think that when he actually leaves FOR college I will be better, but who am I trying to kid?  I’ve never been great at change and this is a big one.

It doesn’t help that my daughter, only one grade year apart from her brother, will be a Senior in High School come September. This little girl of mine is smart, independent and always knew what she wanted from the minute she was born. She planned her birthday party themes four years in advance and stuck to each one of them. She is a fierce animal lover, and vegetarian, she is very smart, extraordinarily beautiful and has an incredible quick wit. This girl, wrapped her arms around my neck for years and wouldn’t let go. No one else could soothe her except me. Soon, she too, will be running out the door, this independent free spirit that I fervently admire.

In our hearts, our secret fear is that our sons and daughters will forget us. So, I am saying this now. Please remember we love you so much. Please don’t forget us or stop loving us. Keep in touch and the hug you give when you visit, try to make it last a second or two longer so that we can remember just how good it feels.

*Courtesy of The Beatles song

2 thoughts on ““(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

  1. Beautiful entry Laurie. Had me crying for sure. My 23 year old son left home at 18 for the Marines. I was very ill at the time, and felt either he wouldn’t make it back alive or I wouldn’t live to see him alive. When he walked out that door to head for the airport…I lost my mind. I hit the floor in a heap of gut wrenching sobs. My husband and daughter just didn’t even know what to do, so they let me be. I screamed and sobbed as if he had already died.

    He didn’t die, and neither did I. He came back home eventually, then he bought himself a house of his own and left once again. That time was a bit easier…lol.

    Now my daughter is 17. She has a serious boyfriend. I’m sure she will leave at some point….she does have some mild learning disabilities so she is behind her peers a bit, but with some hard work she will hopefully graduate with her class next year. She also isn’t ready to live “on her own” so, I’m hopeful she will be with me a few more years, so I can better prepare her for living on her own and taking care of all the things an adult has to take care of…the day she walks out to enter this cruel world on her own, will be another day of me falling to a heap of tears on the floor once again.

    Being a mom is sooooooooooooo hard.

    We can do this.


  2. Be assured that your children will NEVER forget you; even as adults, they will still need and want their mother. Later, they will consult you on “knowing if this is the one,” children, how to balance work and home life. They are walking out a door that is left ajar; they can and will re-enter at any time.
    You are grieving for their “lost” childhoods, their dependence, their company, their “selves.” Some times you just need to grieve; letting go is never easy.
    Hang in there; just remember that the door to your heart and your house will be open for them; they will walk back through that door.


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