Miles Away

August 5, 2012

My son is a million miles away from home right now. Well, that’s not really true, but it feels that way. He is in Europe – first he was in school for part of the summer and now he is on vacation. I am thrilled for him – truly – because these opportunities were not available to me when I was growing up. Oh sure,we backpacked through Europe, stayed in hostels etc. but today’s kids travel differently. There are rental apartments available to them so they end up actually “living” in a country; shopping in the local grocery stores etc. He is having a wonderful time. Travel is such an education – no matter what your age is. It gives you perspective on the world and also on your home. He is seeing, tasting and breathing in the world in a whole different way than when he is home – and in doing so, will probably see and experience home in a different way when he comes back – there is always a new appreciation for “home” when you’ve been away.

So – we were Skyping yesterday – by the way, how great is it that we can see each other and talk? Not so long  ago the only communication would have been the old postcard in the mail that arrived 2 days after you got home! Anyway, we were video chatting and he holds up his right hand and shows me his palm, with very large bandage that is covering the 5 stitches he has from a gash that he got while doing his dishes. Now, I know this kind of stuff happens – how many times have I done it myself? But he is my son – and no matter that he is in his early twenties and about to live on his own – and yes, it’s only a gash (I said gash and not cut – did you hear me?) and of course, he’ll be alright – he is alright….but he is still my son, and he is far away from us at home. My first instinct is to go over and see how he is – it has been my job his entire life – to make sure he is looked after and it’s a hard  habit to break.

First it was diapers and feedings – for goodness sakes’ – they can’t even hold their own heads up, in the beginning! Then it was band aids on boo-boos, arranging play-dates with responsible families (and getting them to and from them) feeding them the right foods to keep them healthy, rubbing tummy aches away – not to mention helping them get their own juice, helping with homework or riding a bike or skating…the list goes on when you are a parent.

But today I can’t help him out ….and strangely, I am ok with that. I am also strangely pleased. He is far away from home – he is on his own for the first time and he is doing just fine…and wasn’t that my job? My mother used to say to me that a parent’s job was to make themselves obsolete. I used to think that was a terrible thing to say (especially when I had young children). Now I see she was right. Of course you are still needed as a parent – you are always needed. There will always be tears to wipe, hugs to give and a helping hand or a listening ear….but it takes practice letting go….

and today…my son is a million miles away from home and what can I say? I miss him and I miss not being able to be there….I guess I need more practice.

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2 Responses to “Miles Away”

  1. Teresa Cleveland Wendel Says:

    It’s hard to let go. We take it to mean that we’re indispensable. But we’re not.

    • sassytalk Says:

      I know deep down that we re not indispensable…but after years and years of being “The One” and needed on so many levels…it is a transition to realize that they can do things for themselves…and yet – this is exactly what you are hoping for. ARGH! Motherhood – so ambiguous at times! 😉


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