life

Endings and beginnings

He’s off. Settled. Installed at university – across the country.

I’m always a proud Mama, and never more so than when our son was accepted into one of the top universities in Canada. The fact that it’s four provinces (4029km/2504miles) away, is something my husband and I have been digesting, with a smile on our faces, for months.

I’ve just returned from a four day trip to get him organized and set up in residence. It was one of the most wonderful, but more emotionally challenging experiences I’ve had in motherhood.

He’s doing exactly what he should be doing, moving into the next phase of his life with the skills, values and independence we’ve worked to instill in all our children.

But hugging him goodbye and having to leave him there, no matter that I know he’ll do great and be just fine, was almost as hard as when I had to leave him in the OR for surgery on his broken leg when he was six.

I sucked it up (mostly – poor Uber dude) until I hit my hotel room. It was only in writing out all the fantastic details of the day to email his dad, that I got a handle on the Snuffluffagus tears. Writing is therapy.

I flew out so early the next morning, I was hardly conscious. I was one of the last to board the plane, psyched to have an aisle seat near the front. The middle seat was empty and I thought I had it made, despite the huge manspreader in the window seat. (wtf is up with that???)

Then a young mother boarded with her 9 month old baby boy, and smiled at me apologetically. I jumped up to let them in, remembering well my many trips with young kids and the obvious looks of horror from fellow passengers, then realized the father was there too. I offered to move but they said he was in the middle seat at the back of the plane. Yeah – not happening.

I was happy to help her out and thrilled to hold the little monkey. He was such a happy guy, with a shock of blond hair, huge blue eyes and a ready smile.

Then a three year old boy walked up the aisle and spotted the baby. He stood and gazed at him with such fascination for ages, it was adorable.

Do you see the pattern here? Okay, Universe!!!

I didn’t let myself say the usual, ‘it goes by so fast’, ‘appreciate every moment, even the most frustrating ‘, ‘you never get this time back’.

I didn’t want to be that person.

It’s all true though, but you can’t really understand it until you live it. Like everything in life.

I lost it a bit at the airport when I saw my husband, a couple of times on the way home, but walking up to the house was really weird. He’s not just out, he’s away.

So sniffling away in my bedroom, I pulled out my phone, and there was a text from my boy.

I thought you should know, I had tomatoes for lunch.

😂😂😂 Thank god for technology.

And perspective – he’s only away at school, he hasn’t moved out! Home for a visit in two months!

This is not the end of anything, it’s the beginning of everything.

❤️ Amanda

37 thoughts on “Endings and beginnings”

  1. I felt your emotions 😢😔but hey 🥳 it sounds like you raised a lovely young man, now it’s you time ❤️ saying that I would just love to have one day when my daughters were five and two and a half again. 😔 life is such a mixture of emotions. 😊🙈😇

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    1. Thank you Elaine! That’s exactly it, if I could just go back and snuggle him when he was little, just for a minute, … well that wouldn’t help actually, I wouldn’t want to let him go! A mixture of emotions for sure, that you just have to wade through, trying to understand them could drive you crazy! 💕

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  2. It sounds like you did a good job raising a confident, independent son. Now, you’re moving into a different phase of life, too. I became an empty-nester 3 years ago and it took me a good two years to adjust. Give yourself time and know you’re a good mother by not holding him back. It’s hard, though. I know. ♥️

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  3. Been there, although it was a while ago now. After my daughter went away to college, I kept finding little notes from her like “I love you” in the sugar pot. “Do you miss me?” in the linen cupboard etc. She knew I would be missing her so she left notes all over the house. Kids understand. Love the text. Sending hugs.

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  4. Been there, although it was a while ago now. After my daughter went away to college, I kept finding little notes from her like “I love you” in the sugar pot. “Do you miss me?” in the linen cupboard etc. She knew I would be missing her so she left notes all over the house. Kids understand. Love the text. Sending hugs.

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  5. While I still have several years before my son decides if he wants to even go to university or not but I get weepy every year on the first day of school. I am no longer allowed to walk him to class (he is in grade 6 this year) due to the tears. And reading your post I cried. It is hard to deal with that emptiness. My ex and I share custody and the first time I did not have my son for a week it was hard. It gets easier with time and like you said technology. I must ask though is eating tomatoes a feat? Not something he likes? Or was it just the reassuring you that he was eating his fruits and veggies? Congrats on him getting into one of the best universities in Canada. Where did he go? Ontario? B.C.? Quebec? Those three provinces I know are the highly touted ones. My poor U of M and U of W are little fish. (Sorry I always write books. 🙂 )

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    1. Thanks for the comment! It is hard but wonderful to watch them grow up. I just keep repeating that this is the normal way of things, it’s not like I left him in the cart at the grocery store as a baby! (I swear I didn’t do that😏) My youngest daughter’s in grade six this year too! I’m allowed to walk her but only because it’s a new school. I have a feeling today will be the one and only- last- day I get to do that. 😢 Yes, he was teasing me about the tomatoes because I was on him about eating his veggies. He’s in Ontario, we’re in BC. He’s going to Western, in finance. I write books too! 😊💕

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  6. Wow does this bring back memories. When my oldest went to college (my daughter), it brought about a huge unexpected reality shift in the home and in my head. It was so hard. Her place at the kitchen table seemed so empty, I had to move the chair to a different room. Tears when I’d least expect it. Then when my youngest – and 2nd child – (my son) left for college 6 years later, I knew more what to expect. But it was still a jolt. We didn’t have texting back then (or at least I didn’t), so maybe that made it more difficult.
    Time does help.

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  7. This is one of the times when technology is a real positive and it will bridge the gap between you! It has worked for us since last September when our son, just like yours, left for college and only got to come home about 4 times in total.

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      1. It was easier after a week Amanda, once you see how capable they are and once you recall how independent you were at their age! Our young man has only been home for about 10 days since end of college in May, touring Europe and making up for all the years lost to bullying. Thinking of you all. Xx

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      2. Yay! Good for him!! I’m having small moments but mostly I am okay with it. It’s so true that we think of our kids as so young and inexperienced, which they are, but we were handling life just fine at their age.(mostly 😉) He is super capable, and texting makes it all so much easier. Thanks for your thoughts. ❤️

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  8. It’s so very difficult to adjust to an empty house and the distance that divides you, but it sounds like you’ve raised a lovely and responsible young man who is destined for great things. And your relationship with him will grow and change and turn into something even better. Or so, that has been my experience. I take great pleasure in my relationship with my adult son and marvel everyday at the fine man he has become. Though we don’t see one another often, we only seem to grow closer despite it all. I wish the best for you both int this next phase of life!

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    1. Thanks Michelle. We are so very proud of him and I think you’re right about the relationship continuing to develop in even more positive ways as they get older. That’s been our experience with our oldest, though she’s still at home. That’s wonderful to hear about your relationship with your son. Putting in the work in the early years really pays off. 💕

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  9. I can relate and yes, I’m that person, here on the blog. It seems time passes faster than ever with this technology. When my daughter left for school in CO while we were moving to TX, selling our home of 20 years, we both were devastated for some time. She is now 48 and experiencing the same thing, sort of. They are much closer and as you say, with technology, they’re always in touch.

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  10. Congratulations. You’ve raised an intelligent, hard working son, and he will reap the benefits of his upbringing. But it won’t stop you from missing him… I live in the UK, and the British can be very cynical.When I was pregnant with my first daughter, a couple of people said to me “You’ve put yourself up for 18 years of hell.” How little they knew. It’s that first big step into adulthood that hurts the worst.

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    1. Thanks Jane. What an insensitive and cynical comment! And I agree, it’s watching them take those first steps and hoping all the lessons stuck, that they don’t struggle too much (I think those are the hardest yers for sure) and missing those early years especially, even though they felt interminable at times.

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