Monday, August 2, 2010

Fragile Teens

They walk like kings and queens, relishing their soon-to-be freedom. They soak up the compliments on their achievements, seemingly ready to conquer their new school, make new friends, climb to the top of the hill again. They make friends quickly at orientation, figure out how to switch classes before I have even figured out how to read their schedule, confidently take you across the maze of campus to the next session, whiz through BB&B choosing sheets, comforters, message boards, organizational tools. You hold back the tears and the sadness and embrace their new selves. You cheer them on and hope you don't miss them too much.

Until they stand in the kitchen at midnight, crying and telling you how much college is going to suck. How they don't want to leave their friends, their past, their buddies. How they cannot possibly face these challenging new classes, live in a 12 x 12 "cage" and succeed at anything. It is all overwhelming.

And you want to shrink them down to a 5YO size, put them in your lap, cuddle them like you did before they went off to kindergarten, and tell them that it will all be ok. And you'll always be here for them. That life is full of choices and this is but one. If it works out, it will be great. And if this choice doesn't work out, another will come along, and that will be great.

Instead you hug them, cry with them, point out the benefits of going to college now with Facebook and Skyping and cell phones, not like I did, I had to WRITE SNAIL MAIL every single day to my best friend. I couldn't afford to call him. [this was unfathomable to the Teen] And I missed him like someone had cut off my right hand. But I did make new friends - friends I have kept for 25 years, even after moving around the world and back. You try to explain that their life is a big pot of mixing in ingredients, simmering the old, adding the new, making this great creation, growing this wonderful person. You admit it is scary and a little bit sad, but mostly an awesome opportunity.

And you send them to bed with hugs and reassurances, and then cry yourself to sleep wondering if you have done the right thing, given them the right tools, loved them enough so that they will know they can ALWAYS come home to Mama.


ChiTown Girl said...

Oh, good Lord! I feel your pain. {{{hugs}}}

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are an amazing Mom...and I cried through this like I was the one sending mine to college. One more year...*sigh*

Hugs to you, stay strong.

Veronica said...

Be strong! :)

Nice blog btw :) loved it.

TAG said...

Stay strong. Don't show any signs of cracking. It's up to you to be their rock, their foundation, their safe haven when things aren't perfect. (And they never are perfect.)

I know it's tough. But you can do this. You have to for them. This is that final pound of flesh that being a caring parent demands of you.

Oh sure, you could throw them out the door with a "here is your hat what is your hurry" attitude, but you care too much. That is such a good thing. Just be careful and not let your caring get in the way of them doing what they have to do to be successful adults.

You can do this. You have to, for them.


Gigi said...

Oh you've reduced ME to tears now! They will be fine and you will be fine. And I want you to remind me of this in about 2 years!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Whenever it seems like sending them away seems like too much I think about 18-year old boys going to fight Hitler in WWII and that cures me.

It sounds a bit harsh, but it does work!

They are going to have a great time.

Sarah J Clark said...

Thanks. You made me cry.

Think of this as another growing pain. Most of us went through it and came out better people in the end. I'm confident your Teen will too.


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

You're doing the right thing. The right thing isn't always the easy thing. I remember feeling a big gaping hole in my chest when I dropped each one at college.

The pain is bittersweet when you see them moving down the path, and every day you get to be a witness to, and on some days even a part of, their journey.

Enjoy the moment. And hold the Captain. And come to San Diego for truffle fries.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

The truffle fries are getting all cold and eaten. Where are you?