This fall my youngest left for college. It is a new phase of life, a new stage. How did this happen? It seems like just a moment ago I was holding each of my 3 children in my arms as newborn babies. in that instant I was filled with so much joy, love and happiness and now already the last is leaving the nest.
So my nest won’t officially be empty for 4 more weeks when my oldest son leaves for Thailand to go and teach there for a year. It seems so very far away and almost incomprehensible that we won’t see him for almost a year. My second son is back at college for his Junior year, and my youngest is having a great start to her Freshman year in college. I am so proud of each of them and happy to see them moving forward in their lives, this is exactly what my husband and I want for them! So why is it tinged with sadness for us and most other parents?
I find for me there are several reasons. First, while yes I am still their mother there is a change in that identity. I am not needed to mother them every day. Unlike when they were younger they don’t need me to drive them around, make them a snack or tuck them in at night. I am still their mother, but like a cousin once removed, I now mother from a distance.
Some of the sadness comes from missing the daily communications. My house is so quiet, no more noisy dinners as we hear about everyone’s day, no more friends dropping by filling the house with noise and laughter. No longer can I hug them when I notice they are having a tough day. Communications are planned, first texting “are you available to Skype at 8?”, then waiting till 8 o’clock and hoping the technology will work for us.
What does yoga have to say about this? Yoga says that your attachment to an identity causes pain, the feeling of loss of the identity of mother causes pain. Even though I am still their long distance Mom, it is a loss, a change in that identity, it can and should be mourned. Yoga says your happiness should be independent from the events that are happening around you. I can’t let my happiness be dependent on my children being home, this would not be healthy for them or me. They are doing what they should be doing, what we have encouraged and prepared them to do. they are moving on growing, learning and becoming beautiful independent young men and women that my husband and I are incredibly proud of. The way they are stepping into their new stages of life with grace inspires me to do the same.