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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What? What do you mean I'm like my mother!

I never thought I’d be the kind of mother that got all weepy when my child moved out of the house and went to college. In fact, when I was eighteen and my mom took me to college and spent the whole weekend crying because I was leaving her, I vowed I’d never be that kind of mother.

I’ve pretty much raised my kids with the philosophy that I want them to spread their wings and fly, even if it meant their flight took them on a path far away from me. Let me preface all this by saying my kids are still fairly young and a long way off from leaving me and going to college.

Last Wednesday, my oldest child went out of town for the first time without myself or my husband. He went with one of my oldest and dearest friends to the beach. He’s good buddies with her son, and they wanted to bring along a play mate for her son. My child was gone from Wednesday to Saturday night, and I mentally patted myself on the back by how unfazed I was by the whole thing.

Smugly, I thought to myself I am definitely never going to have empty-nest syndrome like my mother did. I am so cool with my kids growing up. The mental pats on the back ended Sunday night. Sunday afternoon after my child had been home less than twenty-four hours, I drove him to his first overnight camp where I left him to stay for a week.

He got a bit nervous before I left, but at the time, I was still copacetic. I told him he was going to have a fabulous time at the amazing camp and get to meet all sorts of new people and do all sorts of amazing new things. That’s what life is about-experience adventures!
I didn't realize until later that night when I was sitting alone in my living room and my husband and youngest child were in bed, that I too had started a new adventure and wasn't all together as unfazed about it as I thought I would be. With the house quiet, I realized I really missed my precocious older son. Sure he and his brother mock wrestle every day and drive me up the wall, and yes I swear he is entering smart-alack teenage years way before he’s actually a teenager, but I miss him.

My mind started turning. Is he having fun? Is he lonely? Did he make any friends or did he feel left out or excluded at dinner, at campfire, or in the cabin? On and on my mind went until I got misty eyed, and I realized this is the first taste of what my mom experienced all those years ago when she said goodbye to me and watched me walk away from her and toward my new life. Letting him go to the beach with my friend had been easy because my friend is like a sister. I knew she’d watch over my child exactly as I would. 

Letting him go to camp was a different story.

I think I know something now I never realized then. All those years ago my mom was crying for the loss of me, but she was probably also just plain old worried for me too. Was I going to be happy? Was I going to make friends? Was I going to make good grades or remember to never walk alone at night?
I feel like I’ll probably break that vow I made long ago to not get upset when my kids go off to college. Not because I won’t be able to handle missing them, I’ll manage somehow! I think the tears will come over worry! The world is a big, scary place sometimes and as a mom it’s my natural instinct to want to keep my babies close and protect them.

I know I can’t always keep my kids close, and truly I do want them to have grand life adventures. But I hope as the years pass between now and college, I can instill in them the strength to journey out, but the surety deep within that no matter how far they journey they’ll always be able to reach out and count on me. Somehow, through her tears, my mom left me with the assurance that she loved me enough to be sad that I was going, and that she loved me so much she wouldn’t want anything less than a grand, adventurous life for me.

This blog is dedicated to my mom, whom I called first thing this morning to tell her just how much I love her, how great she is, and how I luckily turned out to be more like her than I ever knew.

What about you? Do you have someone in your life you said you’d never be like, but then you realized you are like that person?

Have a great day!


  1. Julie ~ What a sweet post! Probably every woman in the world has thought that they didn't want to be like their mother in some way. I love my mother dearly. We're alike in some ways but different as night and day in others.

    Missing your children though is something I can completely relate to. Ever since my divorce, I only have my son 1/2 the time. It kills me when he walks out the door to go to that OTHER house with his father and that OTHER woman, the pair of which I have less than zero respect for. It is *so* hard to know he's being influenced by people I have no control or say over - people whose morals I question. I can handle a day here or there, but when he goes for days at a time like vacation or special events... I miss him terribly and I do get a little weepy.

    1. Ava,

      I can't imagine how hard that would be! I feel for you. I've been checking the camp website every night to see if there are any pictures up of him, and if he looks happy! I've turned into crazy mom!

  2. I never wanted to be like my dad, but I'll be darned if I'm not just as stubborn and bull headed and sure I'm right about things. And I never wanted to be like my mom, but I've struggled with the same peace-making need to fix things my whole life. Ugh!

    1. Catherine,

      I guess we all end up like our parents in ways! Being stubborn can be a real asset when it comes to getting things accomplished.

  3. Julie, I complain about my beasts, er, babes, pretty much every day. They drive me up a prickly, dirty, stinky wall and yet, I know I will be the clinging mama begging them not to go. I'm already dreading my oldest leaving me in the dust because she's so independent. Her confidence and poise astounds me. She's flipping 10 and already talks of living on the other side of the country!
    The other two will cling to me as hard as I cling to them. I think. I hope. :)

    1. My oldest son talks about living far away as well! His little brother said to him that they'd live by each other, and my eldest just looked at him and said, "probably not."

  4. Aw! That's so sweet, Julie! I'm so eager for B to grow up - and I even suggested boarding school last week when she was driving me to the brink of insanity -- but I do think I'll probably be a mess when she leaves us for college!!

    I know I'm a lot like both of my parents, no matter how hard I've tried not to be. lol.

    1. I threaten military school ALL the time, but I know I wouldn't do it when it came down to it because I would miss them too much!

  5. I channel both my mom and my grandma at times. It can be a little mortifying! :-)

    My Eldest is all about getting out of the nest! I'm daily torn between sobbing and waving cheerfully. I think nature makes them obnoxious to make it easier on us moms. :-)

    1. Deb,
      So true! I'm definitely torn on different days.

  6. Ahh Julie, having just had my first leave the nest recently, I can honestly say some days I'm a mess. And some days I'm okay with it. He's so smart and capable that I don't worry so much but having had him when I was little more than a child, my oldest and I are like best friends. So I miss his company the most. I miss our conversations and I miss his presence. I miss his over arrogant opinions, I miss his crass jokes, and I even miss his smart-alack remarks. I don't worry about the decisions he'll make but I do question life's little surprises that can quite often put us on our tushes. I know he'll weather through them as I did but as a mom I want to protect him--even though he's 21 years old and a grown man.

    It's been difficult and easy all at the same time. It probably doesn't help that my middle son spends 1/2 of his time with his father and 1/2 with me. Like Ava, I have had to learn to share my time with him. So my house can sometimes "feel" empty despite having a very active 5 yr old.

    But yes, I swore I wouldn't be like my mother and get all weepy eyed over things like this and what do you know...I have found myself doing just that. Great post!

  7. Thanks, Suzie!
    I so admire you for your strong personality! I can't imagine you weepy, but I suppose we all get that way!