By: Wendy S. Marcus
I’m a mush. I may not seem like it, but I am. I love my children with a force that could power the planet – if only I could figure out how to harness it. And as much as I longed for privacy and peace and the ability to read a magazine article, from start to finish, without interruption, when my children were little, with each milestone, each step they take toward venturing out in the world without me, I get choked up.
First day at day care, I lingered, wiping my eyes, hoping no one would see.
First day of school, I put each of my children on the bus, and then proceeded to follow it – while fighting tears – to make sure the bus actually took them to the right school and they actually made it into the building without being kidnapped.
And I must share, to this day, one of my children in college and two in high school, while I no longer follow the bus; I still get emotional on the first day of school each year. It’s a new chapter in my children’s lives. A stepping stone that will take them that much closer to leaving me.
I bring this up because, at the end of June, I dropped my 14-year-old daughter off at sleep away camp for two months. As much as I look forward to the break, I still get teary-eyed as soon as we enter the gates.
“Not again,” my daughter said, laughing at me.
I laughed, too, despite the tears leaking down my cheeks.
“There he is,” she noticed someone in the crowd. “Don’t touch your eyes. Look away. This is so embarrassing.”
Yeah. I know. She’s been going to sleep away camp for four years. Enough already. I’m happy to say by the time I left the car to begin the registration process I’d pulled myself together. Until it was time to leave.
“You can go now,” my daughter said as soon as we’d finished hauling in her stuff.
The camp suggests parents shouldn’t stick around as it may make the separation more difficult for the child. What about the parents?
“After I make your bed,” I said. So I could inspect her mattress. And dust any cobwebs. And oh look. The outlet. I took the opportunity to plug in her power chord before someone else used it. And since I was there I hooked up her fan and alarm clock.
“Good bye, Mom,” my daughter tried again, when she’d caught me looking for something else to do.
I hugged her. “Good bye, honey.” It wasn’t enough. “Walk me, out.”
“Really? Is that necessary?” she asked.
Heck yeah, it was necessary. I wasn’t going to be able to hug her for two long months. “I’ll leave after you walk me out.”
She huffed, but followed me.
Outside she was more concerned with who was watching us than a heartfelt good bye. But she hugged me, and after a quick kiss on the cheek, she returned to her bunk without looking back.
While I fought to maintain my composure as I drove to the exit.
Why? I know she’s safe. She has lots of friends and is going to have a wonderful summer.
When will it end? When will I come to terms with the fact I’ve raised happy, well-adjusted children who embrace each phase of their lives? I’ve done my job well, and now it’s time to let them experience the world.
And therein lies the crux of the problem.
So what about you? Are you a mushy mommy? What sets you off? If you’re children are grown and out on their own, does the mushiness go away? Please click on the number next to the title of this post to comment.