I am writing this on the eve of my son’s move to another state. This isn’t the first move or transition. Thus far, I’ve navigated the departures of two children going off to college, a year abroad, a marriage and now the youngest moving out and away. This move has an air of finality. My heart knows that this is most likely the last time a child of mine will actually live at home. I’m not renting out the room yet or turning it into a study, guestroom or an extra bathroom (even though having one of my own seems particularly appealing). HIS room will be his for a few more years and until we downsize, everything will pretty much stay the same.
Am I holding onto the past? Is there some part of me that still wants to hold on in hopes that this really isn’t the end of mothering as I have known it for 30 years? Unlike my mother’s generation, I’ve had a very interesting and challenging work and creative life. I didn’t rely on my mothering to define me. Still, more times than not I’ve put “mother” as the first in the list of identifying roles-before woman, wife, artist, poet, coach, counselor… you get the point. I’ve been a mother for 30 years, a role I took on without much preparation (none to be precise) – in fact, my entire married life has been defined by motherhood. For more than 10 years, I was the only one in my group of friends to become a mother – I was quite unusual for my time. So, it seems natural that letting go is not so easy.
I’m not completely happy with the ache in my heart. I wish I were as healthy as my children who come and go with relative ease – secure in their attachment to my husband and myself. “Are you sad?”, I asked my son to which he answered, “You aren’t going anywhere and I know I can always come home even if it isn’t to live?” I’m happy that he can feel so secure about it all and can’t wait until I catch up.
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