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Archive for the ‘adolescence’ Category

In less than a month, my son heads to college.

He is very ready for this.

I am a weepy mess. He is my firstborn and his entry into our lives was precious and amazing. It seems like just a few years ago that I changed his diaper for the first time. It was in the hospital and I had no idea what I was doing. He was somewhat patient with me and we got through this new experience (diaper changing) together.

Being his mother has taught me so much…. to slow down, to listen better (I have not always listened well, especially during the teen years), to cherish him and his sisters. My own sisters and I grew up with a great deal of loss and before becoming a mother, I had grown accustomed to cherishing people who too frequently vanished from my life. Becoming a mother made me realize the value and joy that comes with cherishing people who are in your life everyday.

When he was little, before he was a big brother, my son and I would read together every night. He’d pick a book; we’d read it and then we would cuddle in the dark. Every night after we turned the lights out, I would tell a story about a little boy and it went like this:

“Once upon there was a lucky lady. Do you know why she was a lucky lady? She was lucky because she was a mommy. But she wasn’t just ANYONE’s mommy. She was Aidan’s mommy and that made her very lucky indeed…”

And then the story would continue with some details about the adventure of the day that my son had been involved with.

I have truly been so lucky to have this boy in my life.

As he packs up to head to college in another state, so far away, I gird myself for the challenges of saying good-bye. He’s fairly independent right now – in and out of the house hanging out with friends. But at the end of August, he will be out of the house and living elsewhere. And that is something I’m not ready for – though my readiness is not at all relevant to the matter. He is nearing adulthood and he needs to leave the nest and stand on his own. He is ready.

I am not. Motherhood has been so much a part of who I am for the last 18 years, but I realize the daily chores and tasks of motherhood are coming to an end.

Now it is my job to watch him fly off into his own life…

 

 

 

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Next week, we have two important milestones – my oldest graduates from high school and my youngest two graduate from 8th grade. These milestones have created for me a tumult of memory.

I remember vividly putting my son on the bus for the first time. He was happy and proud and excited and puzzled at my tears. I did not plan to cry. But the tears flowed none-the-less. I remember when my girls “graduated” from Montessori. I most certainly did not plan for tears, but the tears came none-the-less.

I was shocked at the quiet that came when I put all three of my children on the bus for the first time. And that’s when I realized for the first time, nearly 10 years after becoming a mother, that motherhood is so much about letting go….

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First day of school for the girls… could they be any cuter, these three?!

Next week also marks the umpteenth anniversary of my mother’s death – she has been dead for more years than she was alive. Her time here was finite and short; the time without her has been infinitely long and grows longer with every passing year. She saw none of her children graduate from anything – not grammar school, not high school, not college.

I am the oldest girl in a family of three girls and my mother had been dead a year when I graduated from 8th grade. After my mother’s death, we had hired a housekeeper – today, she’d be known as our nanny. Her children lived with us during the summer. It was a chaotic time, but what I loved about that first housekeeper was that she expanded our family with her family just as ours shrank incredibly. My mother’s side of the family endured significant losses in the next few years – both of her parents died two years after my mother; her sister, my beloved Auntie Ronnie, died eight years later, also of cancer (like my mother). Ronnie, like my mother, left three small children behind. My adolescence was a time of chaos and loss and grief and discovery.

Our housekeeper had heard stories of how my mother had made my baptism and first communion gowns. She volunteered, for whatever reason, to make my graduation dress. I thought it was pretty.

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8th grade graduation – clearly I had entered “the awkward phase” of adolescence…

During the ceremony, a classmate leaned over and suggested that the sleeves were ripped. They weren’t ripped – they were loose as per the pattern. I was annoyed and embarrassed. I don’t know what possessed this classmate to point out a perceived flaw of my dress during the ceremony. But my middle school experience was full awkward moments so it’s no surprise that the ending of it contained one was well.

And next week, I witness all three of my children celebrate these milestones. My son is very much done with high school. My girls are so ready for high school. And I’m not ready to let go yet.

But let go, I must. It’s all part of the job.

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Why it’s Bristol Palin, of course.

I’m at the grocery store yesterday, stocking up on celebrity gossip groceries, and I find myself inevitably drawn to the vision of Bristol Palin on the cover of People Magazine, wearing both her graduation gown and her baby….

Just a couple of months ago, Bristol was chatting up the failures of abstinence with Greta Van Susteren.

Today, the daughter of Alaskan royalty has become the most visible spokesperson for the “just say no (to sex)” movement.

“Think about the consequences,” she’s telling teen girls via the People story (because teen boys, as exemplified by the Palin situation, don’t need to bear the burden of parenthood.)

I’m just not sure that pictures of a pretty teenager and her adorable baby are the right medium for this particular message. She is, after all, a teenager raising her baby outside of the sanctity of marriage. In my opinion, Bristol has taken on one of the very hardest jobs available today, that of single parent.

And I’m not sure that pointing to her baby as an “ooops – I did something you don’t want to do at all” is the right message for any mother to be saying about her child. That’s a tricky road to navigate, frankly.

And I honestly don’t know how she does it. According to the People story, the Palin family has no nanny – but the girl has the time to take care of her baby AND study for finals too.

(With both Sarah and Todd working, I do wonder who’s minding the children, with no nanny or parent around to supervise at home….)

Certainly, with interviews on Fox and a cover story in People, it seems like Bristol’s post-high school career is taking shape – talking about the downside of having a baby, with her own baby on her lap. We wish her and her baby the very best.

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