Today I went out for coffee with a handsome and charming young man. He even paid (I redeemed a “free frappe and fellowship” coupon he gave me for Mother’s Day). He’s so grown up. He leaves for college in less than a month. We were talking about what he’s taking with him and how he feels about going, and I started crying. I’ve been doing that the last few days when I think about how close it’s getting. Because, he leaves in less than a month, but just yesterday he was 7 or 8 and telling me that he’d never move out if I let him have a pug-but if I didn’t he’d move out when he was old enough so he could have his own house and get a pug. I reminded him of that deal recently and told him I’d get him a pug if he stayed.
He’s moving in with my mom because she lives close to the college he is going to and that’s comforting, and she’s excited. My whole family lives in that town. He’ll have a whole network of love and support. I’m thankful for that. He will only be an hour and a half away, much less than the distance many kids I know have moved from home. These are all logical thoughts my brain reminds my heart.
I can replay all of the advice and encouragement that the wise, seasoned mothers who have gone through this have shared with me. It’s a good thing. It’s healthy. He’s ready and prepared; that means we’ve done a good job raising him. I’m not losing him; our relationship will just be changing. There will be joy and blessings in watching him branch out and succeed in the world and begin his life.
My brain understands. It all makes sense. It’s my heart that is having trouble with it-specifically the part of my heart that will be moving with him; because every mom knows that her children are pieces of her heart walking around outside of her body. It’s one of the strange dynamics in life. We hold on to our children when they are young. We shelter, guide, protect and keep them close. Then a day comes in which we have to open our hands and release them to the world.
I’ll deal with all of it in a healthy, mature way. I’ll find joy in our new relationship and be thankful. For now though, I will be like Mary and ponder all of these things in my heart.
I listened to a vlog by Mike Rowe recently in which he read an email his mother had sent him. In it, she told a story about losing her purse at the grocery store and meeting the woman who had returned it. The lady told her not to feel bad because she had actually left the store before without her cart of groceries. Mike’s mom ended the letter by asking what kind of a person leaves her cart full of groceries in the parking lot. I’d like to answer that for you, Mrs. Rowe: this kind of person.
I had forgotten (or perhaps blocked it out) but the day came back to me after hearing that story. The kind of person who leaves a cart full of paid groceries in a parking lot is the kind of mom who paid at least 20% more for those groceries to shop 5 minutes away instead of driving 3 young kids 40 minutes round-trip to get a better deal.
She’s the kind of person who just spent over an hour in the store with 3 kids who wanted everything they saw, and became whiny and tired halfway through the shopping trip. She’s the kind of person who had one thing on her mind as she was pushing the cart out to the vehicle-getting home and putting the kids down for a nap or some quiet time so she could decompress. She’s the kind of person who took the care to buckle all of her kids in tightly and safely, then hopped in the front seat never noticing the cart full of groceries sitting in front of the vehicle. Then she drove home thankful to be done with the grocery shopping for one more week.
She pulled into the driveway at home, got out of the big SUV, and remembered the groceries. She cried a little bit at the realization that she was minutes away from a little rest, and now had to go back to the store. She’s the kind of person who prayed on the way there that someone had taken the cart back inside and not taken advantage of the opportunity to get a week’s worth of free groceries, because she didn’t have the money to replace them. Then she got all of the kids back out of the SUV and hauled them into the store to retrieve the groceries that thankfully someone had pushed into the store.
So the short answer to that question-what kind of a person forgets a cart full of groceries in the parking lot-is an intelligent, devoted, hard working mom who hadn’t had a good night’s rest or gone to the bathroom alone in 7 years.
But that was years ago. Even though I once again have a little one, I don’t make those kinds of mistakes anymore. I would like to say that it’s because I am enlightened, or no longer allow myself to be frazzled or stressed, but really it’s because I have a teen and two tweens who say things like: “I thought you needed to pick up toilet paper,” and “Basketball starts Monday and I still need new shoes,” and “Did you call and sign me up for gymnastics yet?” Does it really matter how or why things get done, if they get done?
Please share your frazzled mom or dad stories with me in the comments.