Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letting Go

Several years ago, before we went through several hamsters in rather quick succession and determined that we were just not meant to be hamster owners, my kids and I were at a pet store, looking for our next new hamster. 

The hamster inventory was low that day, and all the store had was one Robo Dwarf hamster. This little guy was in his glass walled cage, running madly back and forth across the front, dashing from one corner to the other, never varying his route. He had done it so continuously that the litter was completely pushed aside, leaving a glassy pathway in the bottom of the cage. 

We stood and watched for about five minutes as he paced frantically, never stopping, not even slowing down. And my kids came to the conclusion that this little hammy obviously had some kind of issues and would probably spend the rest of his little life (a short one, if he came to live with us) pacing, pacing, pacing until he had a heart attack and died. It was not a quality we were looking for in a pet, so we left the store. (And went to the other pet store in town, bought a sweet little ginger-colored hamster that my daughter aptly named "Ginger," and who dropped dead the day after her warranty expired.)

This summer, my son is that pacing hamster.

He is in a state of limbo, no longer a high school senior, not quite a college freshman. He just turned 18 and is legally an adult, but still brings rocks home in his pockets and washes them in the kitchen sink.

He sees the future beyond the confines of his environment, restless to get to it. He has boundless energy, going from one activity to the next: to the gym, to his lifeguard job, to his friend's house. When he's home, he is always on the prowl. 

Tomorrow is the day. 

His clothes are packed. Boxes hold bedding for his dorm room, school supplies, a smattering of kitchen items. Laundry detergent, because I have hopes.

And even though he'll be back to visit often, I know he will never really live here with us again.

I want to mourn the little boy who has grown up, and yet at the same time, rejoice the man he is becoming. 

Tomorrow....

When we drive home without him, I will cry a little and pray a lot, and then take a deep breath.

It's up to him and God now.

10 weeks old.

16 months


Three years


Four years


13 years


Senior picture



29 comments:

  1. Oh wow! Exciting and terrifying all at once!

    Definitely the beginning of a new era for your family, but one which I hope will bring Good Things.

    I have every confidence that you will have taught him the life-lessons he needs to know to manage the transition (and the experience) well.

    I'm also 100% certain that if he struggles or wavers or finds it hard, he can take heart and hope in the bedrock of unwavering support and love you've given him.

    He may not live in your house for much longer, but for now, in his heart, you and your family are his home.

    I hope the day goes well for you all.

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    1. I'm having enough trouble trying not to cry, and now this?!

      Thank you, my wise friend.

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  2. Poor, poor hamsters...

    I'll be thinking about you today, and saying a little prayer that you don't embarrass him too badly. :)

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    1. So far, so good.

      We stopped buying hamsters after the three legged, one eared one died.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle! Trying not to think too much about it!

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  4. I am literally tearing up right now. WHY? Why do our little boys need to get big and go away?? Also, condolences on Ginger.

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    1. I looked up one day and realized I had another MAN living in my house. And it happened so fast!

      Poor Ginger. And the day after the warranty expired.

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  5. I'm glad Katie's not the only "creative" pet/stuffed animal name-r out there....
    Deep breaths, deep breaths. He will do great. So will you :-) Plus, when they come home from college they REALLY appreciate home cooking. And clean clothes.

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    1. We have a stuffed cat in the house that was named "Pussy." Didn't have the heart to make her change its name.

      Breathing deeply....

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  6. I will start by saying you make some good looking men and the world thanks you. I will end by saying, though mine is only 4, this growing-up-and-leaving-home stuff scares the buh-jeezus out of me and I will think the good thoughts for you. :)

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    1. I hate to tell you this, but he was 4 years old just last week.

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  7. Well, thanks so much for tearing me up...and my oldest is only 12...but I know the time will fly. Soon enough I'll simply be copying your post and claiming it as my own.

    Praying for you and for him. God bless you all as you transition to the next chapter. :)

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    1. I'll be so senile by the time your son gets to college that I'll never notice if you re-use my post.

      Thank you for the prayers!

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  8. That act of willingly and lovingly letting go of your child, is one of the most painful, but exciting things a mother can go through, isn't it?
    I still recall how I felt when I waved my daughter goodbye, but have found such sweet consolation in the deep and abiding friendship we now have.
    I've found that God always opens a window when he closes a door :)
    I hope your son finds as much love, life, and happiness as my girl has done :)

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    1. Thank you, Katy! That's a great way to think about it! I am trying to look at it as I did high school graduation: he's SUPPOSED to do this. If he didn't, we'd have problems.

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  9. The highest compliment I can pay to this splendid piece is that I read it to my about to depart for college son (2 more weeks) and he laughed all through it; then said you had caught the emotions perfectly. Gteat post!

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    1. Wow, Meg, that is probably the best compliment I could ever receive! Thank you for sharing it with me!

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  10. Well, as the tomorrow you spoke of has now passed, I'm curious to hear how you fared. I'll be dropping my second son off next week, and I hope I do better than I did the first time. Although he's going farther away, so I doubt I will.

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    1. I admit that I cried as I was telling him goodbye. He's going to do great, though. Wish I could go to college again!

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  11. Can't believe it is already time for school. What the heck happened? I'm sure he is adjusting well and will come home in time to do laundry.

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    1. Since he refused to go to the laundry room so I could show him how to operate the machines, I fear you are correct.

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  12. Aw such sweet memories. I sure miss my children being little. Everything changes once they're grown and you never know what to expect. My oldest lives in NC with his family, so I rarely see him and my grandchildren. My middle son has issues and refuses to come around me. And my youngest has Asperger's and never says anything to me unless he wants something. Best of luck to your son on his new journey.

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    1. Thank you! I think he's really going to enjoy his college experience (hopefully not TOO much!). I'm sorry your grandkids are so far away from you. that must be difficult. With any luck, your middle son will realize that life is too short. And I have a niece with Asperger's, and while she's much more social than I believe your son might be, she's not one to just start up a conversation unless she has something to say.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  13. I'm not there yet, with a 10 year old and 3 year old, but we have helped a few friends send theirs off this year and I still ache for the moms who feel a part of them is missing. It's such a wonderful, and yet mournful time. Wishing you both the best!

    Anita
    http://anitadavissullivan.com

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    1. Thank you, Anita! It's so odd to have him gone. I forget sometimes and wonder where he is.

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