Your voice sounds so confident and mature on the other end of the phone.
I make sure that mine sounds equally strong.
“Hey Mom! Wanted to let you know I won’t be coming home this weekend.
“That’s terrific honey! Have a great time!”
“Thanks Mom! You’re the best! I’ll make it up to you!”
Click. I fold myself onto the couch.
In a half fetal tears drip chin to pillow puddling like a Rorschach. Let’s see. What was it I begged God every night in my prayers?
That’s right. It was for you to grow up to be a healthy and happy and well-rounded young woman! Well here we are! You, you are all those things and so much more!
Me? I am that basket case you once referred to when you saw your friend’s mom lose it at the train station. Why is this so damn hard? Why can I not rejoice?
I’ll tell you why! Well not true. I won’t tell YOU any of this!
I will however force your father and your older brother to listen and my best friend Monica and Oprah if she’s available!
You (my best friend) and a renowned family member with unwavering conviction has consciously left us behind to live in a dull (fingers crossed) dorm.
Your zeal and zest for life, the dream of possibility around every corner have all relocated beyond our parental boundaries.
I should be in much closer proximity while you test the waters. Who is going to put a strawberry button nose on your pancake? Who is going to do a boogie man check in your closet? Let’s not even mention under the bed! Who is going to wrestle the tangles out of your braided hair? For that matter, who is going to braid your hair? Who is going to wrap a love note around your cheese stick in your Miss Kitty lunch box? Who is going to tell you that the boy who broke up with you was a first class jerk who lost out on the best there is?
My bags are packed and leaning against the front door. Call. Just call. I promise not to criticize your Chippendale poster or your roommate’s colorful language. I could have rented a room at the College Inn. I still can. There has to be a vacancy this late in the winter!
You’re not calling back are you? You don’t need me anymore to hover like a Sikorsky! You don’t even need me to idle nearby!
I drag myself from fetal to classic upright. I’ve got this!
Then the photo albums beckon. I’m obviously trying to find a reason to go full fetal.
I set eyes on a picture of chubby little legs. Then a junior prom. Near hyperventilating…. I was not adequately prepared for how much my identity is wrapped up in being your Mom. Yet every Mom blog warned me this day would come. I thought they were all exaggerating.
Even if I had believed them it would not have helped me one iota to master my difficulty in letting go. Aren’t you the one who is supposed to be suffering from separation issues?
Remember the day I dropped you off at Kid Explorers and you wouldn’t let go of my leg? Hold on here. I’m at the doorstep of an epiphany! Of course you are dealing with separation anxiety.
It’s not cool to admit it though and that’s why you’re pretending! I will go along with the charade. Have no fear. You secret is safe with me!
Time to attend to our other children who still require and appreciate periodic hovering. I’ll stay in idle in case and leave my bags by the door…….
Originally published on Grown & Flown
Lisa Leshaw is a mental health professional specializing in adolescence, blended families and women’s issues. She conducts parenting skills workshops and empowerment circles for women throughout New York. In her silly times she creates puppet shows with characters who say inappropriate things to get a laugh from the audience!