Letting my go of my son’s hand

Before I was a mom, I certainly had heard of the difficulties parents have of letting go of their kids. There is the universal fearful image or scene of the parents dropping off their kids at college and returning to their kid’s now empty room. My mom had to let go of me at an earlier age so that I could attend boarding school when in my early teens. I knew I was asking a lot from her in terms of letting me go. However, I truly knew not the extent of the pain she must have endured.

When I was fourteen I was cautiously happy to be experiencing a whole new world. I had so much going on I did not take enough moments to reflect on how everything was changing. I was living in the moment. When I was sixteen I was fiercely independent in a very naive way. Just because I lived in a dorm, traveled to Boston on the weekends with my friends and did my own laundry did not mean I was free of the need to bond with my mom. My bond, however, was different as a result of the physical distance. A distance that if I were to experience it now with my son would probably cause me to curl up in a corner. I would call my mom every week and check in on her and my much-younger sister. At times, at age of sixteen, I felt like the family’s matriarch. Yet, there was so much I didn’t understand about the world. I look back at that time now with wonder as to how my mom made it through such a distancing set of moments. I was somewhat alone, or at least somewhat on my own, in the world. She was without the daily presence of her daughter. I, on the other hand in this moment, just cannot process that absence.

Just last week, while on a business trip, I was talking to my colleague about the first time he left his child alone in the house. It was an unplanned, yet necessary adventure they embarked on when their child care fell through. I do not recall the age of his kid at that time, but the kid was old enough. I have mentally blocked out the age of my colleague’s kid in that story because for me I can’t yet imagine the time when I leave my baby alone. My son is five year’s old yet he is still my “baby” despite his protestations. I can’t imagine him sitting along in the house and being safe. We live in a safe neighborhood. Yet, the thought of him being alone in the house leads to me conjuring up images of random bands of troublemakers harming my child. Rational thoughts on my part? Not so much.

The main problem is that I am not yet ready to even let go of my son’s hand. Every morning we get dressed, pack our respective backpacks and head out hand in hand. We walk four blocks to his school and I never want to let go of his little hand that fits so neatly into mine. We run, skip and jump together on our way to school. Generally, when I do let go of his hand, it is so that we can race each other to the cross button at the curb. I have started to let him walk a couple of feet ahead of me. However, my eyes stay on him the whole time. When will I be ready to let him stay alone?

I don’t recall many times when I was younger that I went to an empty house. There was always someone there. When I lived in a dorm, even though I was hundreds of miles away from home, I was never really physically alone. Somehow, going forward, I will have to tap into the strength my mother exhibited many years ago, and start that process of letting go. Just not today, tomorrow or next week.

Inspired by my son’s hand and the daily prompt

 

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