, , , , , , ,

Today, at 20.13, my son left on the Eurostar for Queen Mary’s College, London to study biomedical sciences. It is truly an exciting moment in his life and I am a very proud mother.

But I did resort to my usual avoidance strategy of avoiding the departure….or so I thought…I met him a Gare du Nord, we had a quick drink together, (another coping mechanism,) and then it was time to say goodbye.

My daughter chose the avoidance strategy and organised a sleep over with her friends for this evening. However, she did tell me a hundred times over lunch today that he has been more than her brother, he has been her father. And as she babbled on, as teens girls usually do- where everything is a crisis and confusing- I realised that she needed her exit strategy; she was not ready to say goodbye. However, like I, she could not escape and as I returned to work, her brother met her to say goodbye to her. Needless to say, she cried

Tonight, my son wrapped his arms around me. At that moment, I recalled how different it was 19 years ago when he was put in my arms to cradle. Now he wrapped me up in a giant hug and the strong cord that held us together was pulled and stretched. The saying, ‘it pulled at my heart strings rang true, as I tried unsuccessfully to control the emotions and not shed a tear.

As I watched him walk through customs, the tears were running down my cheeks, in a rather uncontrollable fashion. I turned to head back towards the metro and everywhere I looked I saw young mothers with prams, strollers and toddlers and I recalled how I cried with joy and the unbelievable experience of never-ending love when he was born; immediately I felt sorry for those mothers, as amongst the disciplining and hugs and the shouting and celebrations,  they would have to experience the letting go of their adult child into this wonderful cruel world. And we, like our parents, can no longer protect them.

I have a very good friend, who is an expert in managing emotions and controlling his emotions so much so that one would never really know what he felt about certain issues or topics and as a master of control, I have admired him. But I have noticed and realised that even when it comes to the discussion of his children, even he was unable to control his emotions as he has always puffed up with pride and pleasure as he discussed his kids. Even, he, a rational man, is unable to control his emotions when it comes to his children.

It dawned on me at significant and joyous moments that involve our children, that we tend to cry, and I wonder why?  But there seems to be no other way to release the strong, intense emotions that seize us at the moment reality dawns and change is upon us.

I recalled that when I left home as I young adult, I could not understand why my mother cried. That day she told me, that one day I will understand. I think I do now.

And whilst I cried, I hoped that his life will be filled with happiness and love and success and I will only ever have to cry at wonderful events that await him in his future.