Feeling discarded

You know, I anticipated the whole “last child to college” thing a bit differently than it is panning out. When my eldest daughter went to college, we heard from her. Sometimes it was due to homesickness, or difficulty with classes; and other times, it was just to check and see how “the old folks” were doing. She seemed to enjoy hearing about our lives and we certainly enjoyed the details of her activities.

When my boys joined the military, it was expected that we would hear nothing for 8-12 weeks due to basic training limitations. However, after that period was over, we had regular communication. Not even wartime prevented them from communicating through emails, phone calls or Facebook.

As we whisked our fifth to college, I had high hopes of a similar pattern, especially with the vast amount of communication available today. We can send snail mail, email, text, talk and Skype. I have all the popular apps on my phone too–I can Tango with the best of them, Instagram, and Facebook message.

So, why am I feeling so discarded?

True, I hear from him, but I have to text first.
Had a call out of the blue the other day.
I was excited!
He needed my credit card and then had to leave for class.

Oh

So, I begged for another call, and true as he promised, he called today…..but his mind seemed far away, so I let him go.

I told my husband at dinner that I was no longer needed.
He seemed to think I was needed in a different way now.

How?

Don’t get me going with the birds and the nest–been through that four times, and I get it

This is different.

He is my last one.

There is no one left to stay awake for.
No one to share homemade goodies with–I made a loaf of gluten free bread and it got moldy
No one to handle things for…….. and I don’t know what to do with myself

It is just me and my husband now; and this hollowness is unusual. As second marriages, we have only known our lives with the sounds of children–and this is just strange.

This chapter brings freedom, but I have never felt free. Since I was seven, I was responsible. How do I not be responsible, when I know of no other way?

Oh why did he grow up so quickly? Like a puff of wind, he became a man

Of course, his new life must be difficult too….another environment, new names to learn, more difficult classes, and praying for God to lead the way.

Perhaps, he can’t feel the freedom to call until he unties the cord that binds us together, and finds his own path.

Perhaps, I need to untie first………so I can allow him to be free

Perhaps I need God to lead my way.

I think. I need. to pray.

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4 thoughts on “Feeling discarded

  1. I enjoyed your post since I am in a similar situation. My fifth child is 18, and headed off on a mission (Mormon here). I have been busy with my kids, loved having them around, homeschooled the last three and now it will be strange. (And my other 4 kids are married now)

    He reports to Provo for language training and then he will fly to the Czech Republic and be there for 25 months. He will be able to email once a week, but that is all. Christmas and mother's day he will be able call. He asked me if I was going to cry — and I said I would miss him, but I'm going to try and not cry because I am happy that he chose to do this and I know he will learn so much. But between you and me, it is hard when you have been that kind of mom that sits up at night to make sure they got home and share goodies! We as the Lord to watch over them as they find their way. I pray your days will lighten up and you will feel God's spirit with you 🙂

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  2. Thank you Delia, I am finding that there are quite a few of us feeling this way. I didn't realize it until I posted this blog.

    Your son is doing such a great thing by doing his missionary work and I know that he will not regret it. I have interviewed many young men and women who have done this very difficult work and they are so fulfilled when they return. Bless you for your bravery in letting him go.

    And yes, it is very hard when we are this kind of mom…and I am praying for both of our sons that the Lord watches over them and guides them to His intended path. Thank you for writing!

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  3. My parents once said to me, that our children are only lent to us, and that if we do a good job, they will venture forth and create their own lives. We no longer become their focus, but we get…..hopefully, to watch them thrive and grow into the people they are meant to be, and to be there on the periphery to love them, validate them, and to listen to them when they need an 'ear'. So take those normal and very natural feelings of loss, as a sign that you have been a good parent, and that you child is now able to walk into the world, with his head held high, feeling firmly grounded on the foundation of all that love and support that you have showered on him throughout his formative years. Well done. In time, you will dry those tears and know that this is the way you are meant to feel, and the way that it should be, and that you can be at peace with yourself about it all….and him.

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