I’m sorry to have not posted more recently, but my life has been chaotic lately (but will settle down soon). I love writing here and love the feedback I get….this blog has become very important to me as it connects me with others who share a similar experience. I feel badly when I neglect writing here. I also love to write, and the writing here is therapeutic for me…and if it benefits others also, I KNOW it is a good thing and that I need to be “here”.
I left my eldest and firstborn at a college today…three hours away from me. We have been very close, and now that we are apart, I admit to being afraid. Afraid that her life and dreams will lead her away from me and that we will one day become distant and not enjoy the closeness we share now. Afraid that a purpose I’ve had in being a parent for 18 years will become insignificant, that maybe I will lose my value? I worry that she will make a mistake she will be afraid to tell me about, that she might make a mistake that will alter the course of her life forever and squash her dreams. And control freak that I am, I have to learn to relinquish control of one of my own and to let her take control of her own life now, as she should. I’m sure I am thinking of many more things that I haven’t yet put to words. But all day I’ve easily come to tears. I asked her to please not be sentimental and to be obnoxious as we left so that I wouldn’t feel so sad, and she tried, but failed. I’ve cried on and off all day.
But today made me think of a lot of things. Life is transitions. Transitions and change are normal. They promote growth. Our lives are not meant to be a slow and steady journey along a predictable path…growth only happens when we experience the unpredictable, when change happens. Change in our lives is a constant that we should expect.
I’m sad my child, whom I’ve loved beyond all measure for 18 years, is beyond my reach. But I know she is where she should be, that my job ultimately was to let her go. Letting go is a transition in successful and honorable parenting. Loving parents are supposed to let their kids fly….even away from them. Real love isn’t always holding close…..sometimes real love is in the letting go. Controlling love that hangs on too tightly stifles growth. I don’t want to prevent my kids from growing into the people they were meant to be.
In hindsight, though, a cancer diagnosis adds a new twist to every normal life transition. Letting go, or being forced to let go, was something I had to contemplate when I was diagnosed. I faced losing my kids, losing my husband, losing my home, losing my job, losing my health, losing my extended family and friends, losing everything in my life all at once and against my will. I faced a monumental and unimaginable loss. Sometimes now I feel badly that I don’t have more sympathy for those who lose jobs or houses. They’ve only lost a job, only a house. It is a loss, but they haven’t lost EVERYTHING the way many I’ve met with cancer have.
So as hard as it is to let go of my kids, I love that I am able to do it the way nature intended, when I have finished my job of nurturing them to adulthood. When the time is right. I celebrate now that my kids can leave me by their own choice and when the time is right for us to be separated, that I wasn’t forced to abandon them 7 years ago. I count my blessings all of the time now.
It’s hard now, but I know it could have been so much harder.