Thursday, September 08, 2011

How Do You Say Goodbye?

The dreaded day has passed. The day we hugged our son and wished him good luck, and left him on his own to pursue his passion of guitar and songwriting at The Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Where did the last eighteen years go?
I knew it would be hard to say goodbye. Four years ago we left our daughter amidst my floods of tears and worries and fears that we were just going to be too far away. We weren't. She survived. So did we.
Having gone through this once, I figured I'd be okay. I'd be sad, but I wouldn't be a basket-case.
So much for that theory.
It helps to know I'm not the only one. It helps to know that what I'm feeling is completely normal.
I really enjoyed the talk we were given by one of the professors at Berklee on Sunday.
He said, "There is no right or wrong way to do this."
I'm so glad.
I'm really not that much of an emotional person. Sometimes I cry during movies. Sometimes I cry after finishing a manuscript or getting a rejection letter. But I never cry in public. Not if I can help it.
So what in heck was I doing blubbering down the aisles of Shaw's Market as we shopped for groceries with my son, who's now living in an apartment and will actually have to cook for himself...
Sheesh. Talk about embarrassing.
But there you go. That's how I am. When something's really big, I cry big. For days.
And now I'm sitting in a really quiet house. It's a strange feeling knowing that one phase of my life is over. No more worrying about kids getting to school on time. No more telling kids to get the heck in bed, it's one a.m. for crying out loud!! No more getting the phone calls in the middle of something really important, asking if I'll drop off money for lunch, or a binder, or a gym bag. (Yeah, I did that. A lot).
So now it's time for me. For us. Weird.
I guess I don't like saying goodbye because goodbye means change. And I really hate change.
But I'm old enough to know that there isn't a whole lot I can do about it. Things just don't always stay the same, much as we'd like them to. If they did we'd be bored out of our skulls.
And sometimes change is good.
I'm pressing through, knowing my kids are exactly where they're meant to be. They're happy. They keep in touch. They still ask for money. And at some point in the year they'll return home for an extended period of time, usually bringing a bunch of friends along for the ride.
It won't stay quiet for too long.
I'm going to enjoy it while I can. But meanwhile, can somebody pass the tissues?


Loree Huebner said...

I'll pass you the Kleenex box.

I've been there.

It's bittersweet when children grow up and spread their wings. College is a new world for them...AND we must let them go.

And yes, there is change.'s also a new time for you and your hubby. When we became full time empty nesters, our long time romance became new and exciting again.

Take it one day at a time.

Jan Cline said...

Ive been there too. Cried like a baby. Time for a new adventure for everyone in the family. There are seasons for everything. Enjoy.

Dorothy Adamek said...

Oh Cathy, that really pulled on my heart strings, sniff!

Our eldest started university this year... but here in OZ our kids 'usually' stay home. So, no 'off to college' for her! She just gets on the bus in the morning and comes home again in the afternoon! I guess that can be good and bad... depending on how you look at it :)

Hugs to you in this new season.

And PS - I haven't been blogging much over our winter and your blog looks different and GORGEOUS!! Did I miss the metamorphosis? Never mind.... it's delicious :)

Catherine West said...

Dorothy - lol - yes it changed around the time my book came out, courtesy of my fab designer guru Yvonne Parks at Pear Creative!! My daughter and I skype or DM pretty much every day, which helps a LOT. Not sure how that will work with son, but at least he added me to his Facebook!! LOL!

Loree and Jan, thanks! Yes, this is a new season but we knew it would come eventually! And it's not like they're never coming home...right?!

Lindi said...

We are empty-nesters too! And our son is getting married tomorrow. Tears have been flowing--but they are good tears-like yours. They're off and doing their own thing.
Life is different for us, but it's good. I've managed to fill my time with other things. :)

Carol J. Garvin said...

It's so hard to let go, but parenting is all about preparing our youngsters to grow into responsible, independent adults. My children are all married with children of their own now, and I still have days when I miss them intensely. (I have strategically placed Kleenex boxes!) But I'm so thankful for the calibre of adults they have become. When they left home my days gradually took on a new focus, and that's as it should be. We writers always have our writing!