Saying goodbye is probably one of the hardest things a person has to do! I am not very good at it. In actual fact, I find myself extremely good at avoiding the words and avoiding prolonged hugs etc…so much so that when my son leaves for University on Tuesday I know I will not adjust my behaviour or acknowledge the reality: He is leaving home and will only return as a visitor but those visits will get less and less as his choices take him down his own roads. For 19 years he has had limited choice and has actually had to follow my road and now I let him go…
The difficulty with the deniability that it is actually happening, means that the event is not marked nor remembered. It merely becomes an insignificant event, when in actual fact, it should be the opposite. It is a major event in his life and it one that is exciting and daunting at the same time. It is the event when he starts to make his own decisions without the influence of a parent/s and it is a time when we sit back and wait patiently to hear from them.
I am sure I will not hear about all the misadventures that he will have and I am sure I will only hear about some of the successes because, success at his age will have a different meaning to the way success may be viewed at my age. Additionally, he will be creating his own world, a world that encompasses: friends, girlfriends, sport and hopefully some study along the way. He is going to be so busy in his new world that he is creating for himself that the person he is now as he leaves home will undergo change, hopefully positive change, that when he returns he will be a man that I will have to get to know. This is exciting and yet again, daunting, as we become observers and our advice that we offer to our young adult children becomes scattered amongst the various opinions, attitudes and beliefs that they will be shifting and adjusting as their life experiences and friends inform them. All of this is normal and we have undergone these shifts and changes ourselves but what happens if those shifts and changes are so great that we do not recognise the child we brought up?
I am sure at this point I am just being an overreactive paranoid mother as he leaves. I too will undergo a change as will his sister as we adapt to the changes in our lives. And what happens upon his return if he is unable to recognise his mother and his sister?
However the future and that ‘what ifs’ should not be the priority for the day that he leaves, whoever he becomes I am sure we will recognise him as family is important and the bond between mother and child is virtually unbreakable.
What is more important is that I would like to mark the occasion instead of do my usual denial act so I am left wondering what piece of final advice can I give him that will help him along his road and will mark this occasion with excitement, hope and joy?