Zen: (noun) A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Letting Them Go

I'm having trouble letting go.

No surprise there.

But this time it's different. I'm having a hard time letting my boys graduate from high school. I'm having a harder time letting them go. The hell of it is I didn't even know I was having a hard time until this week. I mean, I knew it was hard and that I was dreading it at the same time I was looking forward to it but I didn't realize that I was letting any of those feelings leak out of my head (and my heart).

Exhibit 1.  The Girlfriend
Matt has a girlfriend that, as long time readers know, I adore. I loved his first girlfriend also but I knew that relationship wasn't right and wouldn't stick. This one is different. This girl is strong and an excellent match for my sometimes too big for his britches youngest son. She is also me at that age. Pretty much all on her own.  No support from her own family - either financially or emotionally. Able to fend for herself in almost any situation.

So I was very proud when she called (called...not text...that means it's a big deal) to tell me that she had won a contest and would receive a fully paid trip to New York to be a seat filler for the Tony Awards! Wait...what? OMG!!!  That is fantastic! What a wonderful opportunity for a theatre major! Then she asked if Matt could go with her.


I started asking questions. Where would they stay? When were the awards? How would they get around? I needed answers before I could decide. Really? Dad has already said an enthusiastic yes. I mean, what kind of parent denies their child an opportunity like this? At his age I was planning a wedding and had been supporting myself for three years. But I waited, I stalled, I said I had to talk about this face to face. Of course, eventually I did say yes and I'm very excited but I was left wondering...what the fuck is wrong with me.

And then God sent one of His patented bricks upside my head and it came to me...

This girlfriend I love so much is taking my son away from me and I don't like it...not one little bit. In fact, she's been pissing me off a lot in the last couple of weeks.  I feel like she's been competing with me for his affections.  Like I tell him to do something and she's whispering in his ear and telling him to do something else. And he listens to her.

I can really be an ass sometimes.  It's not her you moron...it's you!  I'm the jealous one who's been competing (in my head...not out loud...or so I thought) with her for his affections.  It's like I've got to stake my claim to what I believe is already mine.

I finally realized that I've been telling him no and looking at her differently recently because, for quite a while now, she has begun to take my place. He goes to her with his problems. They talk about the future and make decisions and I'm not a part of the conversation. That's exactly the way it should be and I should be proud of the fact that I've raised a man that could attract a quality woman.  And I am!

Most of the time.

Right now it sucks.

Exhibit 2 - Grumpy Mom
I started to bitch at the boys yesterday about one thing or another when Brian spoke up.

Brian:  "Mom, why are you so angry with us lately?  It feels like we can't do anything right."

Me:  "Ummmm."

Brian: Waits patiently while I process the bomb he just dropped.

Me:  "I guess I'm just having a hard time with the fact that you're graduating and I'm grumpy. I'm sorry. I really am. You know how much I adore you."

Brian:  "Is it okay if we call you on it when you're doing it?"

Me:  "Of course, isn't it always?"

And that's when I realized that yes, I really am having a much harder time than I thought I was having. I was so proud of myself for not crying every two seconds and not worrying about them because they'd be living at home while they went to college. But what I failed to recognize consciously (but my subconscious was smart enough to see) is that it is a very big fat hairy deal. That I have some deep seated feelings about this that need to be acknowledged and processed. That no matter how much I try to ignore it, the fact remains that they are becoming men and have begun what we have been preparing them to do their whole lives...grow up and grow away.

So I cried. And I will again. And I wrote them a letter that I will give them on graduation day. And I processed. And I thanked God that I quit drinking when I did.



  1. Are your twins your youngest kids? It sounds like you see very clearly what the issues are. It also sounds like you are afraid my friend. :o) Afraid of the change of having high school graduates, especially if they are your last ones.....its the ending of a huge time in your life. Parenting kids who are in school. College is different....that is truly *their* thing. They don't need us to sign permission slips, or talk to teachers, etc. They just need us to pay for it LOL. Maybe afraid you are losing your boy to the heart of another, but you are SO right when you say that this is exactly the way it should be. And it does show what a great job you have done! You have a boy who is steady and stable, who knows himself pretty well and is able to respectfully enter into a loving relationship with another woman, because YOU taught him how to do that!
    Be gentle with yourself, process away, and be brave mama. Change is so freaking hard! I loved your honesty in this post. Any mother worth her salt can relate to this post. <3

  2. It is hard I remember my son going to university. I mean I was worried and he did struggle, new room, new town 300 miles from home, new friends, new studies, different style etc. No Mum to do the washing and cooking, no Dad to do the washing up and run him about everywhere!

    But he was fine in a matter of weeks. I however was depressed by it I have to admit to it. And each Sept after 3 months at home I have a bit of the same, but it gets better - now he is moving the Midlands and that'll be it since he starts a PhD - as close to a proper job as he'll ever get probably!!!

  3. Oh stop, you're breaking my heart. .. I can't even begin to image what this stage is going to be like.. given that my kids are all still under 10.. but oh goodness I can imagine the pain at the letting go.. you articulate it so well.. but it also sounds like you're living the pain well and out loud and openly and honestly .. sobriety will do that to ya! Your boys sound so fabulous.. they are lucky to have you as their mum. Also see that you're thinking of further study.. good plan. This is an adjustment for sure.. best of luck... you will adjust and things will smooth out again... sending love xxx