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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Strangled Sob Behind a Poker Face

I was a weepy mess last week for no particular reason at all and I'm not much better today. I know all good things much end, and yes I suppose new adventures are just a breath away, but gosh, being a mom is hard. Several months ago, my youngest sat on our couch and with absolute resolve and made it perfectly clear that he WAS NOT going to college. He did it in almost a temper tantrum kind of way... Well I say that, but actually no voices were raised or harsh words spoken, it's just that he was adamant that he would not go to college regardless of how we felt. The conversation left me baffled and confused. Although the subject of college had been discussed between his siblings and him, we had never broached the subject with him, nor him with us (yes, I'm sure that's bad parenting 101).
Early last week he gently knocked on my bedroom door as I was reading. He came into the room looking at his phone and in teenage mumble/murmuring speak, told me that he was going to Oklahoma City next week to enroll in OCCC. He said he had already sent his transcript in and just needed to sign up for classes. Much like the haircut, I tried my best to "Act Nach" and not torpedo him with the million questions inquiring mothers like to ask, so I simply said.... "Okay, is that something you would like dad and I to go with you to do?" I tread the waters very lightly with him because frankly, he doesn't quite know how to take me and I don't quite know how to take him which is a complete 180 compared to my older children. His teenage years have been a learning process for me that darn near required psychic abilities I do not possess... Psycho abilities yes, psychic abilities no. He shrugged his shoulder and said (in teenage mumble/murmuring speak) "Well, like sure, if y'all like want to go, that would be fine.... I guess."  Quickly my mind translated the message in "Uniquely Patterson" speak and determined the answer was... "Sure, I'd love for you to go." or at least I think that's the translation as I would like it to be. The idea that my youngest was actually going to leave, hit me in the stomach like a boxers upper cut. Parenting is a series of letting go. I absolutely don't want my children living their lives
around my wants, wishes or needs, but that doesn't make letting go easy or painless. I remember when each one of them were just learning to walk. After a fall on their padded diapered bottoms, they would look to me to assess if I thought they were hurt. The way I responded to the fall had much more significance than the actual fall itself.  They were more likely to burst into tears when I rushed to their aid as if something was wrong than they were when I simply smiled and encouraged them to get up, assuring them they were okay. The changes and paths they take in life as adults aren't much different.  When they come to me with decisions to make, or questions I don't have the answer for, I wish I did have psychic abilities or a crystal ball to direct them in the absolute perfect direction. As a mom without all the answers, all I can do is to let them know I support them 100% regardless of the choices they make.  I try to keep a sense of calm about me even when I desperately want to tuck them under my wing and never let them go. Watching their world unfold before my very eyes is both exciting and scary... A tiny part of me would like to fold it back up and start all over again.... Without the rookie mistakes I made as a young parent. The sound you hear as I watch them fly farther, higher and stronger from the nest is nothing short of a strangled sob hidden behind a loving smile and a very good poker face.

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