this parenting gig isn’t for the weak of heart

Because watching my Lulu go off to school in my last post wasn’t enough…

This weekend Chris and I brought H to NYU.

I started writing a maudlin post with lots of wrenching details like the sight of H’s boxers intermingled with the family laundry for the last time, and the sorrow of shopping at Whole Foods without buying his peanut butter Clif bars. But it was just too much. Too personal, too close.

I will say this. That last hug is as hard as you imagine it will be. But it helps when you start to let go, and he just keeps holding on. I can still feel his arms around me, squeezing me back. I’m hanging on to that.

It’s also no slight solace that technology makes the world so much smaller these days. My boy may be 3,000 miles away, but we’ve talked, texted and emailed. This afternoon I reminded him to eat his fruits and veggies.

His dorm is on 10th and Broadway in New York City. Think of that! He has a world of excitement waiting right outside his elevator door.  I’m hanging on to that too.

For now, I try not to cry every time I walk past his empty bedroom. I told Mr. T to expect extra hugs from me because I can’t give them to H. And I’m trying to busy myself with other projects.

I’ve got a big one planned. Right here! Tomorrow! A big ol’ month-long project that requires audience participation. So come on back, my friends, and keep me from drowning in my own salty puddle of tears. I know you’re good for that.

13 comments… add one
  • Just Peaches Sep 1, 2010 @ 5:30

    You’re breaking my heart! Big empathetic hugs from Canada.
    I’ll be back tomorrow for the big diversion.

    • patricia Sep 1, 2010 @ 6:36

      Good thing I didn’t write the long, detailed post! I would have had you all sobbing over your keyboards! 😉

      Thanks for the hugs.

  • By Word of Mouth Sep 1, 2010 @ 5:32

    Tears into my coffee, heartache in my soul (ok the second bit was a bit dramatic but it just came too me, maybe I should write country songs)
    My girls are 8 and 12 and I hope they stay home forever, because I cannot even imagine packing them … those lined up suitcases set me off! You take all the extra hugs you can, but look back over these wonderful memories that you have journaled and savor them – what a great job you have done. My girls and I are enjoying reading them now, your kids lived them, and surely remember them all!

    • patricia Sep 1, 2010 @ 6:43

      Maybe I should write country songs too. I’m in the right mood for it.

      I remember other parents talking about their kids leaving, and I could never fathom it. But when the time comes, it’s the right thing. Heart-breaking but right. It’s exciting to see them head out into the lives they’ve chosen.

  • Susan Paulukonis Sep 7, 2010 @ 21:24

    Me, Saturday, grocery shopping with Annie at Trader Joe’s. She goes to get something, I go to get milk. I grab 2 gallons of nonfat, like I do every week. As I put it in the cart, I realize I will only buy nonfat milk in gallon size one more time (she’s the only milk drinker in the house, the rest of us use it more like a condiment). And, after a full year of being totally non-sentimental about this whole process, I am suddenly crying real tears in front of the milk case at Trader Joe’s on a busy Saturday.

    And then, as she rounds the corner and sees me, I’m laughing so hard at the silliness of crying over milk, I almost pee.

    It’s a hard thing. I feel for you. But I *am* excited for these big kids and their adventures. Just the first WEEK at UCSD sounds so exciting, and I’m sure that H will be just swept up in the wonderfulness that is NYC.

    • patricia Sep 7, 2010 @ 22:42

      You know, it was all the lead-up–all the “lasts” that were the hardest. And then, of course, the actual goodbye. But now he’s been gone for over a week, and it’s not so bad. I’m telling you, the ability to text a kid across the country, and to receive a reply in seconds, makes the distance bearable.

      But I get the milk thing. Totally. If I were there, I’d have been crying with you.

      Can you believe the adventures they’re off on? Wasn’t it yesterday that they were running across the wobbly bridge at Lincoln Park and we were worrying that they’d fall?

      • Susan Paulukonis Sep 8, 2010 @ 20:11

        Yes, I think what’s helped me (generally) avoid feeling overwhelmed was having her in Europe all last summer. She chatted or Skyped with me almost every day (often a little too much!) and in some ways it was more communication than when she’s home. I also have to admit to really enjoying the new and different relationship with Joe as the oldest and only in the house. It was a big change. We all missed her, but we had a lot of fun, too.

        Adventures aplenty, indeed! They won’t fall.

  • melissa s. Sep 8, 2010 @ 18:37

    You are a brave mama. This poem comes to mind after reading this and your last post:
    Hugs & looking forward to your new project!

    • patricia Sep 9, 2010 @ 7:24

      Beautiful poem, Melissa. I especially liked these lines:

      “You may strive to be like them,
      but seek not to make them like you.”

      What a lovely thought.

  • janet Sep 18, 2010 @ 17:46

    Hi Tricia! Amazing to see H in his new home away from home. We miss all of you.

    • patricia Sep 19, 2010 @ 22:18

      It is amazing. Today we Skyped and it was odd to see that his profile location said New York, United States. I mean, I know he lives there, but it still stopped me for a second.

      Now you’re starting your fall of college applications. Double-time! If you need someone to lend a sympathetic ear, you know who to call!

  • Debbie Sep 24, 2010 @ 20:36

    Cathing up here – I can’t imagine my boy going so far away. I imagine that “last” hug to be pure torture though. Oh but how exciting is the life that he is living now? This great, big, new adventure. You’ll get to be a part of that too. So hold on to that. xo

    • patricia Sep 27, 2010 @ 17:05

      The last hug was both torturous and wonderful. Now that he’s getting busier with classes and his life at college, and doesn’t always have as much time as I’d like to talk, I’m remembering how tightly he squeezed me. He’s busy, but I know he loves me.

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