University Drop Off: All the feelings
Yesterday was hard.
Devon, our first born, was dropped off at University for his first year. He's a grown man now. It's the end of an era and the beginning of the rest of his life. Everything will be different.
It's in moments like these, I feel the passage of time. I feel sad and grateful, all at the same time.
I feel amazed, happy, excited, optimistic and also nostalgic, nervous and sad - all of it.
Did I do alright as his Mom? Did I do everything right? Was there more I could have done?
Is he equipped to live in the world as it is today, with all the global challenges that exist?
"Equipped" is different for Devon, he's an individual, so I wonder if I met him where he was?
Was I able to express my love for him in the ways he needed me to? Unconditionally.
I have more questions than answers and that's an uncomfortable place for me. But this stage, this day, requires me to be uncomfortable in it.
To push down this discomfort would be to miss the magic in these moments.
My eldest child has gone to University. It's a blessing and a huge milestone. I have learned through years of blood, sweat and tears, how to hold the diversity of my emotions. And hold them, I will. It may take all of my might, but I'm strong and I want to feel all of the "feels" today.
I will allow the tears to flow because they open places within me that are ready to release and forgive.
I release my boy to his own life. On the drive to school, he noticed that "no one is going to tell me what to do." And he meant it from both self-confidence and trepidation. He's ready but he must realize his readiness alone. His awareness is the key to his readiness. With these declarations, he makes me proud.
I forgive myself for anything I could have done better or different. I know I did my best under circumstances that we didn't always choose. I was single-parenting a lot and my heart and deep respect go out to parents without a spouse. I have a loving husband and Devon has a caring father and, still, we experienced a lot of life without Jeremy around and that was hard. But we did the best we could even when it wasn't pretty.
At this juncture, I will not only release and forgive, I will celebrate.
Through the years of our Mother-son relationship and the challenges we have faced, we built something together that could only be built through time and proximity. To know Devon means to be with Devon. The minutes matter. The cooking together (or ordering pizza:), the walks, the drives and even the kitchen clean-ups - those were the moments when I got to know my son best. Those were the conversations when he let me in. When he expressed his biggest fears, highest highs, lowest lows and uninhibited visions for the future. Those were the moments that we would laugh, hysterically. I wouldn't trade a second of those times. I'd go back to all of them in an instant. But we can't go back. We can only go forward. And, standing on the firm foundation of what I've built with my son, the view is tremendous.
It seems easy to look forward and dream.
It's both sad and serene to reminisce.
But my real challenge, today, is to be exactly where I am. Because this place in time and space, as a sensitive and complex human being, is uncomfortable.
As I love and release my son to University, the ultimate goal is to accept.
To accept my feelings; every single one of them.
To accept Devon; all of his choices, decisions and beautiful idiosyncrasies. To accept this life that he and I have built with all its traumas and triumphs.
And through all of that, to accept myself.
Because, as I more deeply accept myself, I'm liberating him to live more fully. I'm creating space for him to spread his wings and soar.
Go Devon - Go Ravens!
I've shared a few more pictures here