These past few weeks I have been sorting through unorganized boxes of pictures in a last minute attempt to put together a DVD. I hope to pack the DVD along with some other special items into a vintage 1950s sky-blue suitcase that Melissa has admired.
This gift of a suitcase is a symbolic blessing of my letting go to let her grow. Melissa is ready for her journey into adulthood, but I was not prepared for my tears. I still have so many things that I want to teach her and so many words I still want to say (and admittedly so many words I wish I had never said).
Today I discovered an interesting podcast by Dr. Beth Erickson, host of Relationship 101 on Web Talk Radio. Dr. Beth discusses effective ways to navigate the family life cycle stage of “launching adult children.” She explains that “this triumphant time of graduation is also tinged with sadness” as our children physically leave home. She assures moms that this feeling of sadness is natural and normal and that we shouldn’t try to brush it aside. Dr. Beth says we should “feel the feelings, let them dissipate and then they will disappear.” To proactively deal with the grief that “nothing will ever be the same again,” Dr. Beth suggests we find ways to become our child’s biggest cheerleader. She reassures us that in time life will “re-stabilize into a new normal.”
So the next time a young toddler smiles at me from a grocery cart seat and waves “bye-bye,” I won’t blink back the tears. Instead, I will pull the Kleenex from my purse like a rabbit from a hat and sob in the produce aisle. Please forgive me if any of your plums taste a bit salty.
Please share your experiences and advice about “launching your adult children.” I would love to hear from you.