I am "momma" to about 15-20 young adults not including the ones that I paid taxes on, and this time of year when I send them back off to school or watch them take on the next level of adulthood or (worse!) stop to look at how much they have all grown, it is a moment that is bittersweet. Some have been a part of my life since my kids were small, others have only joined the family, but seem to fall right into place and still others take a side road for only a few visits and are gone again, but have still known the love of this momma and unique collection of family.
I am so proud at how far they have come in their lives and when I say that I love them all, I truly and honestly feel down to my very heart their accomplishments and their sorrows. My little house is empty now and has been for a couple years, but this time of year always brings back that initial... sadness.
And when they do come back in increments of a few or a whole party and they speak their foreign languages of Magic, Xbox, Robot Chicken and other nerd-isms, it fills my heart with so much joy. I don't care that they keep me up all night long with their talking and laughing, singing and wrestling, I just love that they are there. Nothing makes me happier than when I wake up and see my living room sprawling with bodies that slept where they fell. I am honored that they still find happiness coming to my home and doing their thing. They could easily go any where else, but that they choose to come to Momma's house, makes me extremely happy.
As they grow and don't heed the council of Momma, it makes me so sad to hear of some of the choices that they make. We all have to have our turn to find out which ways are right and which ways are wrong and let me tell you how I was a person who was going to do what I wanted regardless of all the warnings. And now I find myself in my elders shoes. I want to protect them and guard them so that they never know sadness or fear, prejudices ... or cancer.... But then I have to remind myself that my greatest challenges turned into my greatest lessons.
I am who I am today because of, or in spite of the mistakes I made. My heart has been broken, I have been so poor I had to live on popcorn and Pepsi, I have been lost in darkness and found my way back to the light. I am not perfect- I should be- but I still make mistakes. And my kids need to be "allowed" do it too. And now, knowing what I do, I have to let them. I am here if they ever want to talk or need advice or a meal or a bed to sleep in, but I have to let them grow.
So, as you send your "babies" off to school, and you can feel them slowly slipping from your grasp, know that this is the way things are supposed to be. They are only ours for a moment. And in that moment, we do the best we can to teach them and love them and give them a strong foundation to stand on. So when they are ready to take that leap, they do so knowing that no matter how warm and cozy and safe that nest is, they were born to fly. And we, have to let them go.
This is essentially a script to offer you (and me) comfort. Take comfort in the fact that because of that strong foundation and love and coziness, they will be back and cleaning out your refrigerator in no time!