Back to school thoughts: our children

Back to school thoughts: our children

Our children. Our very own personal treasure.
I am a reader. I love to read. And one of the reasons I do is because reading can take me somewhere that I cannot go alone. I have had some pretty emotional journeys thanks to the pages of a well-written book. This is the subject of my post today. 

children
Have you ever read a book and something within it took you back to a life experience of your own? Man, that’s what happened to me just today. I cannot thank this author I am reading enough for writing a book that transcends time and space that way.

There was a passage, a scene, in which the main character sends her child away to college and how much it hurt. How the tears flew. It really struck me. Yes, I have been there.

In just a few days our schools will be back in session after a summer break. It’s a special time of the year. Many parents will be saying goodbye to their toddler, that very first painful goodbye.

Some will be saying goodbye to their graduate as they go off to college. It was this experience that I was reminded of today. The saying goodbye to your almost grown up child as they go into the educational system of higher learning. It’s so bittersweet and yet so fulfilling. No matter how many times we wave farewell to them, this one is the biggie in my mind.

children

My own children have long ago said their goodbyes in this manner, but I still remember them. My son’s college was only one hour from home, but I remember move-in day and how much it felt like Armageddon. The end of the world as I knew it. I had done my job and now it was up to my son to either live it or choose his own path. I would no longer be in control of his life. I remember crying –  but denying it. I remember calling him a lot. Then he came home one weekend, and I noted how he no longer had baby fat on his body. He was chiseled. He had facial hair. Well, the boy was now a man, and he didn’t really need my motherly input so much any more. 

It was a very “swallow hard” moment.

When my baby, my daughter, left home, it was a HUGE deal. She was not going to be one hour from home. She was going to be 8 plus hours from home and if there was an emergency, well too bad. It hurt. It devastated me. I did much as the character in the book I am reading did. I flew to my sister’s house where gorgeous settings of mountains and streams soothed my pain. I cried leaving my baby, I cried flying away. I cried coming home. It was a terrible time. My nest was truly and finally empty.

But then when she called me crying – homesick…it will never leave me. She didn’t count on HER being the one lonely and feeling out of sorts. I had managed. She was not. She ended up coming home at the Christmas break, and transferred to the same college her brother went to. One hour away.  It was still a distance between us, but it wasn’t the end of the world. And she thrived. And I breathed again.

And in the end, we all survived.

Life is funny that way.  Transitions hurt sometimes. We spend so much time investing ourselves and our time and money in raising our kids “just so”. Then they have the audacity to grow up and have their own opinions and sometimes that conflicts with our own. How dare they? (smile)

I am a very proud mother. My grown kids are people of honor. They make good solid decisions, and they even advise me (on some I face) sometimes. I listen to them. That’s really the best compliment a parent can give, isn’t it? Believe me, it is not the worst thing that you could do as a parent.

When you are finished raising your kids, just hope that they are smart and enlightened enough to be able to share their advice with you when life turns in a direction you didn’t expect. And you should be grown-up enough to realize that they are giving you back some of what you gave to them. This is the pay-off.

We all need someone. Thank goodness some of us have our children to be there. 

Happy back-to-school, mamas and daddies. It’s going to be okay. I can truly say that.

 

About master

Kim Smith is the author of Disk of Death, The Dread Room, Love Inn, and An Unexpected Performance.

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