That faint fluttering heard across the globe is the pang of parents’ heavy hearts. The whirring noise is a flock of college kids hastily learning to fly. However painful the process of leaving home is for both sides, the more frightening prospect is your child never leaves home.
Dropping my man-child across the country for his second year at St. FX should have been a breeze. With only one year post-secondary under my belt, a co-ed campus was living the dream. I felt compelled to emulate his care-free ways, because with boys, you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.
We spent three glorious days swapping stories and sipping pints. Then without warning, I was dismissed. My spud dropped me like a hot potato the moment his roommates arrived. After a brief sulk, I was reminded not to make this about me. I enjoyed the same heady freedom 35 years ago when my parents liberated me.
Kid are schooled immediately after leaving home. By second year, Brennan learned to paddle faster to keep his frazzled heads above water. In academia, relax for 10 seconds and you’re failing eight classes, even when you’re only taking five. In the same vein, parents wade into uncharted waters by relinquishing command of the family ship.
The irony isn’t lost that after 18 years of gently rearing our kids, they leave as soon as the going gets interesting. As my beloved son’s world expands, so does his mind. I’m a mother; this is my circus, these are my monkeys. But I understand, at least for now, the greatest proof of love is letting go.
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