I recently commented at a young mother’s blog about separation anxiety, not our babies: ours! How I could relate to the trauma of leaving her baby with a sitter, her toddler at pre-school, her young child at Kindergarten, and then first grade—that’s a big one. That’s when you realize your children are not just yours anymore; it’s their first step into “the world.” When I took my eldest son to the first day of first grade, I thought all the way there, This is too soon! It’s not fair. He’s not ready. And, all the while, I told myself to be strong for him. Poor kid. I wonder what he was feeling being at the center of my mixed-up mess of emotions.
These experiences are supposed to prepare you for the big changes, like when they leave for college. After all the firsts my son and I had experienced, I still, just like on the first day of first grade, found myself sobbing as he drove away to a college 400 miles away. I walked into the house, but panicked and couldn’t breathe and had to go back outside. He’s 23 now, living in that other city, working and going to college and I am so proud of him. He’s a deep thinker/feeler like his mom, which isn’t an easy road, but it’s a meaningful one.
His younger brother attends college less than two hours from here, so when the semester ended in May, my middle child came home for seven weeks. He’d previously left for college, lived capably on his own, worked hard at school and at football. I know, of course, that he’s doing just fine, even that my youngest, too, will soon pass through this door and find her calling. But, when my son left last night I cried anyway. Loudly. This is too soon! It’s not fair. I’m not ready.
I am constantly reminded by these events that it’s not about me: It’s about them, their children and their children’s children. It’s about the cycle of life. When I first had the urge to write, for reasons still unknown to me, I found myself interested in the culture of a Native American people called the Iroquois. They are a matriarchal society which seeks, in group gatherings, the wisdom to see into the future how each decision they make will affect the next seven generations. Now that’s wisdom. That’s the real cycle of life.