A violent bloodbath occurred in my entire inner being and my heart exploded into tiny, painful shards of emptiness as I hugged my son and told him with as much sincerity as I ever have that I loved him. I couldn’t even feel the anguish that was pulsing through my body because the intensity of this feeling was just too much to handle…it had been building up for weeks and I have been forcefully pushing it down each time it welled up. I knew if I looked him in the eyes I would lose the tiny shred of control I had left in me. I lowered my gaze and turned and walked away, heartbroken and empty.

I have an incredible sense of insecurity in all of my relationships. It seems as though every important being I have given the entirety of myself and all my trust to has turned against me with hurt and rejection tenfold. The few that have nurtured me, and I am invested in and proud of, I hold very close to me with a white knuckled death grip of determination to not lose the tiny bit of good that I receive from them in my life.

I fear I cannot handle any more loss in my life. And while this occasion was supposed to be one of happiness and joy, expectation and excitement, adventurous and liberating, it has left me, unexpectedly, with such a sadness that I can’t even describe. I wasn’t expecting this. I’ve been fighting for him to  get to this point, unscathed and in one piece; advocating for him and his ability to grow in his maturity, character, young adult wisdom, and wit. But amidst all that, all I want to do is crumple to the floor in despair at the thought that this baby of mine is gone, off to conquer the world and do great things.

Selfish me has a hole inside that needs to keep this precious one close so that hole does not spiral into an abyss of darkness where I fear I cannot get out. I can’t bear the thought of losing one more person in my life that I have loved so unconditionally. In my world of insecurities and uncertainties I want the relationships I have confidence in to stay close to me. It’s too hard to let them go when they are the only ones that keep me going in the midst of all the rest that break me down and kick me into a state of motionless defeat.

My children are my lifeblood. They keep me alive. I am so proud of them and who they are, even when they aren’t the greatest they can be. I love them with all of my being, even when I can’t find love for anything else. I am so proud and in love with this young man but so sad about this change and emptiness I must endure as he goes out and discovers the world with his own eyes without me. I didn’t think he would be the one who broke me down like this but I should have known…it’s always the ones I least expect that do.


31 thoughts on “College Bound…

  1. I can hear the pain of old wounds in your new pain at this time. Previous loss can amplify the ache of a new wound, can’t it? It can make trusting this one whom you have said (temporary) good-bye to harder. But like a crab must molt its shell in order to be free to grow, your loving relationship must shed its present form in order to stretch into its future form. There is hope that you and your college student will find yourselves drawing closer in new ways after you adjust to this change. You may even find your white knuckles loosening their grip, and your hands opening to both give and receive. Your gifts of freedom and trust are some of the most selfless and loving things you can bestow on your child.

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  2. After we took my son to college in New York City, I came home and felt sad beyond what I could remember experiencing in many, many years. He became very busy with orientation activities and new friends and getting to know New York, and he didn’t return my calls or texts for something like a week. I felt my heart was broken. I stood in the shower and cried and cried–and I’m someone who can go literally years without crying. It’s just an incredibly difficult transition.

    I will say that our relationship now is not the same, but I so enjoy seeing him learn and grow and (slowly) become more responsible. Things are shifting between us, but he’s still the smart, affectionate, and funny young man I always enjoyed. I wish you the same pleasure with your son, and good friends and family to help ease you through the grief of the transition.

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  3. I mean, take your heart, rip it out, and leave a hole.
    Good for you, letting him go. We raise them to do what they do then feel resentment. Or I did. Leave me?
    I taught them to grow, leave and fly, but when they do it hurt so much. I am still a Mom though, so many years later. Always a Mom. (now a grand-Mom three time over, or 2 1/2, the third to come Jan. 1st)

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  4. I promise. It will get easier. Take one day at a time. Today’s technology allows us to stay more connected. Just don’t stay too connected would be my advice, as difficult as that may be. I understand exactly what you wrote here in such a deeply moving way. My heart aches just reading your words.

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  5. I can definitely relate to this feeling, especially when it comes to my youngest son. He likes to lecture me, because in his seventeen years he has apparently learned much more about life than I have thus far. He’s actually such a great kid, with excellent goals and focus and discipline. And I am SOOO proud of him and love him so much! I love all my kids so much, that’s one thing that never ever changes.

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  6. Oh, I can so totally relate to this. I felt it in the pits of my soul. When we have been so broken, our children are the reason that we cling to life at that point of devastation. Then when they leave, it is like we have lost part of our own self, our identity, our reason for living. It becomes a time for us to find ourselves.

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  7. BTDT 3 times already. It’s even harder when they finally move out for real. My oldest finished his BS and his MA this past summer, and moved out back in August. I am already trying to prepare for when the girl leaves in another two years after she completes both degrees as well.


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