I was sweetly texted and messaged by friends and family throughout the day letting us know that they were with us in spirit knowing how hard it would be let Chris go, and we so appreciated feeling supported by all the good vibes and blessings being sent Chris's way. They all let us know it was going to be ok. And it was.
I have to say that I was surprised that as hard as it was at the airport, Jerry and I came home and talked about how much peace we felt and how happy we actually were about it all. Like in the company of all other parents and friends dropping off their kids this year, we felt like we did our job. For the last 18 years, this is what we have worked for, right? We did it! We have been getting ready for this day through every possible experience in life and in school that we could have given him. All of that to prepare him for this day. To prepare US for this day.
So as we reflected, it was kind of hard to be sad about it really. If anything, all we could truly feel is extremely grateful that we were able to give him this opportunity somehow. But how to stop from missing him was now the question. I was holding up pretty well until the dust settled over the last weekend and the tears showed up as the novelty of "we sent our kid off to college, hooray!" became "Holy Crap! We sent our kid off to college!!!...in Spain!"
What the HECK did we do??!!
I'm getting pretty good at asking and answering my own life questions lately I think. Its helpful when I have to take a step back from panic to talk myself out of it with some common sense reality and logic. Its works most of the time, but if not then Jerry's there to help me through it.
So to answer that lovely question? For one, we did what we would have wanted to do back in our own college days but never got the chance to do. Second, we knew that given all the options this was the best fit for Christian and what he wanted for his future...so we took this opportunity, and now he'll be living it, and we're nothing but excited for him!
As a family, the reality of letting go has been as normal as could be expected I'm sure...
We all miss him! How can we not? Again, we are handling it as well as possible, but seeing the love his younger brothers have for Chris expressed through their heartfelt prayers to keep him safe, and sleeping in his bed to feel close to him can make some days harder than others :')
Every conversation, skype session and text is cherished and looked forward to. However, although the technology is there to keep us connected, we're finding it necessary to hold back (at least a little) to find a way to give him his space and help relieve him of feeling homesick as much as possible.
We are celebrating every discovery and experience with him. His stories, his pictures and blog posts produce some of our biggest smiles and happy hearts.
As a mom, I'm find myself worried about something new every other day. Is he sleeping ok or enough? Does he need anything? Is he eating ok, enough or at all? He says he is, but is he really?? Is he just saying that or is he going without something he could have here at home? Ugghh...all the things that can kill a mom's spirit in 2 seconds flat, but I guess all other "top ramen/mac-n-cheese" eating kids have made it through college ok. So yes mom, Its part of the process. He will figure this out too.
At home, we are also figuring out our new normal. Like sleeping with our cell phones nearby, converting time to Spain time every time we look at the clock. To remembering that I am making one less lunch, not necessarily needing to go in his room for laundry, or even remembering to ask for a table for 4 instead of 5 when we go out! Its habit what can I say...we'll always be 5 right? ;)
As parents its 1 down and 2 to go. Danny and Mikey are growing up too. They're needing their own guidance and encouragement to grow and gain their own sense of individuality during this time apart. Chris's going away for college will be a great inspiration to them, but they will find what works best for them when the time comes. For now it will be about continuing to cherish them, who they are and our time with them as life continues to fly by.
Ultimately, this will always be Christian's home, our boys' home, but we've been told by many parents before us that they will become 'visitors' in our home. Kind of sad? Yes! But isn't it a problem we want to have? Its what we want for your kids right? For them to become independent and self sufficient and yet still be there for them to give them a reason to want to come home and visit.
The reality of letting go?...It is what it is for now and will be what it will be in the future. We have officially sent our first born off to school..Hooray! With God's help, Chris will be back in December for the holidays and then leave again, come home in the summer and leave again. Also part of our new normal for the next 4 years to come. It doesn't mean we're supposed to like it or get used to it but its what's supposed to happen. The truth is, we are embracing this reality with every inch of our heart and soul with joy, love and lots of faith.
From my little corner to yours...have a blessed week.