Entire TV series are created to celebrate the ups and downs of early motherhood. The sleepless nights, the boogers, the puking. . . all of it is chronicled, celebrated, commiserated.
The cute pudgy-cheeked preschool years are shared with other moms during playgroups and outings and photo ops.
Elementary school moms catch up at elementary school drop off, juggling backpacks, a traveler mug of coffee and a work tote.
Middle School and High School moms meet up at sporting events and at auditoriums and theatres.
But, we mothers of college students rarely cross paths.
And we can be a lonely bunch. I’ve not had time to be lonely, with five more kids at home (though I have missed my extra licensed driver!). But what about the moms sending a last or an only off? She is adjusting to an empty nest and the gaping hole left where a child used to live.
I was never one to jump for joy when the kids would go back to school in September. . . while I was somewhat happy for a return to routine, I also missed the freedom of seeing my kiddos when I wanted to see them. I missed lazy afternoons reading on the porch.
And, with sending a kid off to college, I miss the “him-ness” of having the kid around my house. I miss the comings and goings of friends, I miss the mysteriously disappearing food, I miss the glimpses of humor and personality. Instead, I am left with a longing . . . for just one more text, a surprise phone call, a funny email.
But they don’t always come. . .
Because my adult child is just that. An adult. A young adult who is learning to spread his wings. A young adult who does not need me on a daily basis anymore.
It is a tough reality. And yet, it is a relief. We were able to raise a stubborn little boy to adulthood. . . mostly unscathed. As much as I miss my daily contact with him, would I really want him calling me daily to report on every.little.thing. that happened? No way (and I have a pair of four year-olds for that!)
So, instead, I am learning to embrace this season of motherhood. It is a season laced with slightly more worry and concern, but also a few more laughs as our relationship becomes lighter. I’m learning what type of communication works best for college kids (note–think Tweet-length communications), and I’m enjoying watching the young man he is becoming.
Chime in! What season of motherhood are you in? What has surprised you? Share your thoughts in the comments!