When the Children Leave …

Well, I have recuperated.

At the beginning of the month, I ushered my daughter to Indiana, where she has begun her work (her first real job) as a certified music therapist.  I am so proud of her …

Before she left, people around me were asking, “are YOU OK?” I thought, “what a dumb question. Of course I am! I sent her to Spelman College and then she went to the University of Dayton …I’ve been through this before. I am OK.”

But I was not! The angst started while I was still with her in Indiana, helping her to set up. I thought I was coming down with the flu. Not so. I was coming down with parentalitis – a word I have made up to describe the spirit-trauma we parents go through when the children leave.

We want them to leave, right? I mean, we raise them in order to send them forth. Nobody really wants his or her grown child living with them, right? Living close is OK, but WITH us? I think most parents would say they would not prefer that, though the door to “home” is always open…

So, theoretically, I have done my job. My son left a couple of years ago to move to New York. He didn’t live with me, but he lived in Columbus, I thought I’d be OK. He brought some of his stuff over to my house to store as he cleaned out his apartment. I knew it was temporary and that his stuff …and more importantly, he …would be gone. I thought I’d be OK.

But when the UHaul truck pulled into my driveway, and he took all of his stuff and added it to what was in the truck, I was done. He was really …leaving! Miles and miles away! As he pulled away, after having endured my massive hug…that stupid lump in my throat started throbbing. When he turned the corner and I could no longer see or hear the truck, I lost it.

So, I cried as I left Indiana. I cried when I got back into my house and realized she was gone. I was completely stricken with a bad case of parentalitis.

I am happy to report, however, that I am on the mend! I talk to my daughter and son continually. More importantly, I have them in my heart, in a place from which they can never leave. I have in my heart so many hours of love and joy and “growing up” experiences. That’s my “stuff,” and no matter what, my “stuff” will go with me. That makes me smile, and it is indeed a candid observation…

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