Congratulations to Maria of Bicultural Mama on the birth of her daughter! While she and her family settle in with her new addition, I am experiencing the other side of the coin—learning to let go of my first born who is getting ready to go off to university.
I remember the first night bringing him home when he was born. My husband and I were quite unsure what to do with this crying, hungry, bundle of beautiful joy. Being new parents, we struggled as all new parents do learning the baby’s cues, moods, and needs while balancing the art of daily life on the fumes of little to no sleep.
I still recall those early days with bleary eyes and depths of tiredness only known to new mothers and fathers, how after being fed and changed he sometimes would just stare at me with those inky black pools of eyes like a wise old man letting me know, “You are doing fine. You just keep it up mama.” Those nights, right before he would fall into that deep newborn sleep, my mind would wander thinking of my dreams, hopes, fears, and aspirations for this little person that I was now responsible for.
One more child later, two international moves, and on our family’s eighth year living overseas, my heart again worries for this baby, now a young man, that has grown up faster than I could think possible. As with other parents with a child going off to college, I worry will he be okay on his own? Will he know what to do, whom to call, where to ask for help if he has a question, if there’s an emergency? Communication is amazingly advanced today with email, Skype, texting, chat and push to talk apps options, but being 7,000 miles away and literally on the other side of the world, this is still a big pill for this mother to swallow.
I think that all parents, whether sending their kids off a half hour away, to the next state, or to another country, feel that same sense of loss and gnawing concern if we have done our best to prepare our sons and daughters for this new stage in life. An unfamiliar phase for both child and parent, we all have to find our way: from exploring and experiencing a newfound independence without mom and dad nearby to setting one less plate at the dinner table.
On the other hand, I know deep down I did my darndest to bring up a smart, sensitive, strong young adult who is making his first forays into the world. My hopes, dreams, and aspirations for my son have changed over the years, as did the fears and worries, but I am so excited for him to take that big huge step of adulthood come September.
So to my son, I’m letting you go because for you, this is just the beginning…
- Always stay true to yourself. Life is a winding road, but the path is always there.
- Dream big! You are only limited by your own drive and imagination.
- Work hard but play hard. Life is short, so enjoy everything that the world has to offer.
- Be generous. Give unto others as you would have them give unto you.