Knowing When It’s Time To Let Go

My son has made his decision – a Mainland school it is. And it’s very far away. Really, really, really far away.

Wow. I thought I was prepared for anything. But when he told his father and me, I got a weird feeling, like the ground was shifting under my feet. I didn’t sleep that night or the night after. And I was somewhat shocked that my husband told me he felt the same way – surprised by our son’s decision and a bit unnerved. Sure, we encouraged him to understand his options. We took him to see the colleges. We told him the choice was his and we would be happy with any one of them.

But deep down inside, I thought he’d stay home. We all did. Before our college fact-finding trip he was dead set against going away. So my husband and I thought he’d pick the familiar, the safe and the comfortable option.

We were wrong.

I’ve always believed that change is good. During the course of my life there’ve been times when I’ve rushed into it foolishly, bravely, wholeheartedly. But there also have been times when I’ve had to be pushed or pulled into it. What I’ve discovered is that resistance doesn’t work at all.

Change happens whether you’re ready for it or not, so you might as well embrace it and forge ahead without fear. A life without change is a life without growth. I believe this.

Still – I look at my son and do not see a man. I see the helpless baby, the adorable toddler, the grade-school sweetie, the gawky teen. “No!!” I want to scream, “Don’t go! You’re too young! It’s too soon! Who will take care of you? Who will protect you?”

And, of course, that’s just silly. We’ve spent the last 17 years preparing him for this. In my slightly unhinged mind that doesn’t seem like enough, but it is. It has to be.

The next few months will be busy preparing for my son’s marvelous adventure.

First, graduation from his excellent, supportive school, Assets.

I cannot praise the school and its wonderful staff and teachers enough. They gave my son the grounding, the resources and the opportunity to thrive both academically and personally. They worked with his special needs and helped him build a foundation he will be able to draw upon all his life. I have no doubt they helped him develop the self-confidence that led him to make this momentous decision. I can’t thank them enough. Or maybe I should curse them (hah, just kidding!).

Yes, I’m conflicted. I’m scared. I’m happy. I’m worried. I’m hopeful.

I guess I’m going to have to rub the nostalgia out of my eyes and see our son for the young man he is rapidly becoming. He’s embracing change, why should I cling and hold him back? I know he’s feeling apprehensive and even fearful, yet he is marching ahead anyway. I am so proud of him for that.

The least I can do is stifle my own anxieties and stuff them away where he won’t pick up on them.

He is brave.

I should be, too.