Tuesday, March 15, 2011


IMG_9870Today I did something I never, in a million years, thought I'd do:

I put my 9- (almost 10-) year old son on an airplane. Alone.

He went to St. Louis to visit our family. This son, who rarely shows emotion, has been worried a lot lately about his great-grandmother. She isn't in failing health, but she is 87 years old and has reasonable ailments for someone of advanced age. Still, he misses her and gets anxious when he thinks that she might die without him having one more chance to see her.

I think it's sad and wonderful all at the same time. I hate to see him worried and upset but I cannot help but smile when I think about the love and closeness he has with her. I can't make him feel that way - it's something from within his heart that isn't manufactured or forced. It's sincere. It's authentic.

When I took him to the airport, we went through security (yes, all of us - I am so used to going everywhere with a gaggle of children that it doesn't even phase me anymore) and we waited for him to board the plane. When they called for pre-boarding of unaccompanied minors, I kissed him and hugged him. Of course, I started to cry, and I couldn't stop hugging him. He said, "Mom, you have to let go now."

That's it, isn't it? That's my struggle. I do NOT. KNOW. HOW. TO. LET. GO.

I have to have my hand in it - "it" being whatever my children are doing - even if it's just in a tiny way. I have to know the schedule, I have to help them get ready, I have to be in contact with the chaperone. I have to feel that they are safe, and the only way I can do that is if I am somehow holding on.

Today I had to let go, and can I tell you? It tore me apart. I had to tell him good-bye. I know it was only for a week, but I saw the rest of his life flash in front of me. First, "Good-Bye Mom, I'm going on the plane now." Then, "Good-Bye Mom, I'm going to take Karly to the prom." Then, "Good-Bye Mom. We'll call you when we're back from the Honeymoon." Then, "Good-Bye Mom. Thanks for helping us with the baby. We'll be in touch if we need anything."


Texan Mama


Jennifer said...

I'm going to go sit in the corner and rock and and cry now. For you and for me. :`(

I think my kids growing up is harder than it was growing up myself.

Foursons said...

Oh how I hear ya on this one. But take comfort in the fact that you are raising a boy w/a beautiful heart. It will take him far in life.

BlessedMomof2 said...

I teared up at that last paragraph.



GunDiva said...

It was really tough the first time I put any of the kids on a plane by themselves. I know they couldn't go amissin' while on the plane, but I worried endlessly about whether or not the person on the other end would be there to pick them up on time.

It all worked out okay, but it's still terrifying.

Gigi said...

Aww, you made me cry, dammit! I know that those last goodbyes you wrote about are coming far too soon for me and I don't like it one bit.

But, Charlie Brown? Bless him. What a sweetheart he is! You should be proud. You've raised a fine young man.

Anna See said...

Wow! What a big step, Mama!

Tara R. said...

I'm right there with you. My oldest is graduating from college at the end of April, then she's off three states away for grad school. I am on the verge of tears all the time. But, this is what we as moms hope for... raising our kids to be successful, independent adults. It just happens too quickly.

Heather said...

I sent my two off to their Grandparents house on a plane by themselves for the first time when they were 7 and 9 and I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack. They were absolutely fine. It is just so hard for me to imagine a time when I am not a part of their lives EVERYDAY!

I feel for you.

And oh it is so wonderful what a deep connection he has to your Grandmother - beautiful!

Crystal said...

A couple years ago I sent our 9yo on a plane to Maryland to meet up with his daddy who was away on TDY for 5 mos with the military. Letting him get on that plane w/o me was excruciatingly painful. I cried, too. I cried until I knew daddy had him safe and sound.

Jennifer said...

Oh my goodness! As I was reading that, I was picturing my seven-year-old boy and I started having shortness of breath! We are going to do something similar this summer and I am already a wreck over it. We are driving the kids to Tennesee (halfway between here and there) and meeting family and handing them over. They will go to TX without us for about a month and then we will follow. My husband wants some alone time when he returns from deployment.... and I am both looking forward to it and dreading it. I'm terrified.

Amy said...

New reader here - You are a strong woman!! Of course my baby is just 14 months old, and my family is just starting, but I can imagine the kind of mom I would be and I am pretty sure I wouldn't have the strength to do that. What a good young man you are raising! You should be so proud!

thatgirlblogs said...

one of my kids got his braces off today.
another has her driver's permit test tomorrow.


misssrobin said...

My oldest is twenty and I still struggle with this. She is headed to Russia for three months in the fall to teach English to kindergarteners. While I am thrilled for her opportunity I am also in a state of denial and panic. I know I won't breathe properly until she is back.

I feel your pain. Sorry.

April said...

Bless your heart! Just wait until he packs up his belongings and moves away to college. That's when the real letting go begins...and it's so hard!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) said...

Do I have to be from Texas to comment?

(I have been there many times, does that count?)

I'm a mom to an only. He is a good man. Man because he's 24. Where did that two and a half decades go? I was just telling someone I feel like I could have another, very strange to know my body probably doesn't agree.

When my son left for graduate school at LSU (I'm sitting in the
Chicago 'burbs as I type this), seriously as he pulled out of the driveway, someone called me from church to ask me a question and I had to stifle my bawling. It was kind of helpful, kind of funny, but very hard, watching his little white car drive away.

I don't know that it ever gets easier, but a blessing for you is that with five you'll get to do it more.

Perspective, my good friend's daughter, a friend of my son was watching her daughter live with and then die from leukemia that first semester Mac was away. I can call, facebook, skype or Email my son. Life is good for us.

leslie@gleaninggrace said...

I never struggle to feel the emotion in your posts, G, and this one made me cry :-(
My Sweetpea is about to turn 7~can't imagine where those years went??? and I struggle watching her grow up.
Jennifer is right: watching them grow up is harder than growing up myself.
And the letting go thing? Well this little comment box just isn't big enough to talk about that.

Kate said...

That's what was racing through my brain as I was reading this post. You are SO strong. I could never. Ever. OMG OMG OMG
I hope his trip is going well (and that you are doing well too!)