My boy left. I feel a sense of empty, as if I have lost him, but a wise friend told me that I have "launched him, not lost him." I like that much better.
Alec has been anxious to leave for quite some time now. I can't say that I blame him. I distinctly remember feeling the same way. I couldn't wait to get out of the house - be free from all the childish restrictions. My mom and I had a hard time getting along. She worked while I was in junior high and high school, so I was in charge of my younger brothers until she got home. But I don't think I wanted to relinquish my authority when Mom came in from work. My dad called us "two queen bees in one hive." I picked furthest-away college I dared go to (not even 300 miles!), trying to get as far from home as possible. I regret the trouble I gave her, and I totally get it now. And I think the memory of those troubles can help to make me a better mother now.
When Alec has, in frustration, let loose that he just wants to get on with his life, I agree with him. Yes, my dear son, you should fly on your own wings. Let's make sure you have all your flight feathers in working order. Together, we identified skills that he needed to have, and areas where he needed to assume more responsibility. It was not easy. The path was very dicey, and we often did not agree. But, like I'm sure my mother did for me, I loved him. And I told him so. Even when he didn't want to hear it.
And all too soon, it was his last night here. He packed up his backpack, a small suitcase, and a little bag, and told me that he was ready to go. He's in temporary housing (he lives in a hotel room!) while he waits for a dorm room to open up, so he doesn't need much "stuff." I drove him to the university, stood by while he got himself registered, followed him to his room, and nodded at his roommate. Then I gave him a big hug and drove home.
To me, it was his last night. To him, it was nearly his first day. What an exciting beginning of a new adventure! I'm happy for him, and lots of other emotions. I think he'll do great things.
Now... how do we get him to come back and clean out his bedroom?