I have exactly a month from today before I take my oldest baby, ok my 18 year old *insert mommy face*, to New York for his first year of college. Yes, 3000 miles from home! He was accepted to the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts (NYCDA), a college known for its hard auditions.
Thousands audition from across the world, and only 180 are accepted per semester. It’s a huge deal, and I am so proud of him. He has wanted to sing and act since he was 4 years old and has wanted to attend NYCDA since his sophomore year in high school. He now gets to live out his dreams.
Needless to say, this will be a transition for the both of us, actually for the three of us; it has always been him, his brother and me. We have been the “three amigos” (as they’ve named us) for 13 years.
They’ve been my cheerleaders through a lot; they’ve taught me how to control my emotions and live freely.
My boys have been a big part of my life, and now it’s time to let one leave the nest and grow up.
This is when I get to see all the advice, encouragement, corrections and love I imparted into him come into play. I get to see him spread his wings and make his dreams come to reality.
I’ve been preparing myself for this day for quite some time. I remember when I graduated from high school and left to go the Army; it was devastating for my mom to see her “life” leave. For 18 years it was always me and her; I’m the only child of a single mother and we did everything together, and that made us close. I loved our relationship because it opened up a communication between us that was special and became the foundation of my relationships with my boys. I wouldn’t trade what we had for anything in the world.
My leaving did, however, cause separation anxiety in my mom, and THAT was a feeling I didn’t wanted to go through. I didn’t want to have separation anxiety; instead I wanted to be ok when my kids “left”.
I wanted to celebrate their new adventure, not despise it. I had to make a decision; I decided I was going to “have a life” outside my children and encourage them to do the same when it came to me.
My boys and I did a lot of things together when they were growing up. We traveled, talked, bonded, learned and lived, but we also took the time to hang out with our friends. I remained Jeanelle, and they remained individuals too.
It’s important to remain You when you’re a mother. We begin looking at ourselves as “mom” and we are more than titles!
You are *insert your name here*! You were you before you became a mom and it’s time to get you back, even if you’re still raising your babies. It doesn’t take a lot to have a life, sometimes I do simple things like take a drive by myself so that I’m ONLY Jeanelle; it’s my time where there’s no “mom” questions, no “business woman” questions, nothing…I’m just Jeanelle and I love it. Figure out what you love to do, big or small and do it.
Remembering that I’m Jeanelle FIRST helped me for this very chapter in my life. It gave me the freedom to see myself as more than a mom, I’m every woman, and it’s all in me AND in you too. I have come to grips with the fact that I won’t see my oldest baby everyday and most likely, after the newness of the move wears off, I probably won’t hear from him as often either.
I know I’ll have days in the beginning that are more emotional than others, but if I keep busy with my stuff, I won’t have time to be concerned with his. I’ve got to trust that I’ve done my best as a parent and believe all will be well with him. I’m going to truly miss my oldest baby, but He’s got a new chapter in life he’s got to start living, and so do I. So, I guess it’s time for us both to leave the nest!
Have you experienced a child leaving the nest? If not, have you thought about what it will be like?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Dr. Jeanelle Marshawn Lanham, aka The SWAG Doc, of Arizona, USA. You can also find her on her blog, The SWAG Doc.
Photo credit to the author.