I have been in this same spot before. It didn't feel so good then, and it didn't feel so good now.
It's absurd, really. To think that I would take my most treasured possessions and turn them over to people I don't even know who would then place them in a hunk of heavy metal and then heave them in the sky as far over the ocean as they could go, to then drop into a place I had never even seen!!!!! What kind of a mother am I, anyway????
I speak, of course, of the quintessential college experience...study abroad.
When I went to college, the highlight of our travel was a trip to Hilton Head. And my husband insists that he frequently participated in "study a - broad" programs but none of them required him to leave campus.
Now these kids go to Mount Kilimanjaro and the south of France and Cinque Terre as if they were headed to Nashville ( I know that for some people, THAT is a foreign country, but let's not tackle that in this post)
And that's a good thing.
Except for Mamas standing in the airport watching the kid flash his passport through the security line.
It's hard to let go.
Spare me the platitudes. I know them all, ok? He will have such a good time. This is part of growing up. He'll be fine.
I like this stage of parenting, Really, I do. I am finally "allowed" to be my kids' friend and it's great. They are extremely bright, funny, engaging, and conscientious adults. I am proud just to know them, much less to be their Mom!
But I felt alot better when I was in control of their environment. It felt a lot "safer" to know their friends and their surroundings. I could "fix" their problems with a kiss, a popsicle, and extra TV time. I thought I could ensure their happiness...and their safety.
Now that I think about it, I guess I trusted myself to protect them from harm...as though I had the power to do so.
The power to keep them safe. Physically. Emotionally. Relationally.
How foolish of me!
Oh,sure, I could buckle them in car seats and lock the doors at night. I could prevent them from going places that would endanger them and make sure all the toxic substances were out of reach.
But I really could not protect them against all harmful people, events, or circumstances. Try as I might, I am not powerful enough to ensure that no pain will ever befall them. Not when they were little...and certainly not now.
That's hard to embrace but it's the truth.
So what am I to do? How do I gracefully and successfully navigate the "letting go" of parenting? Inevitable as it is, I figure it's best I learn to do it well.
So I grab one last hug at the terminal. I look down at the floor to keep the tears at bay and hold tight to my better half's hand. I think about how fabulous this opportunity is and how grateful I am to be the one God chose to mother these four. I look forward to texts and FaceTime and whisper a prayer of thanks for AT&T. I turn my focus to the grace and generosity of my Heavenly Father.
And I trust Him. His ways are always faithful, always good...all the time.
I trust Him.
And then I go check the flight status for landing times.
After all, I am still a Mom. Letting go or not, I am forever a Mom.