Monday, August 01, 2005

Little boy goes away

Our eldest, Zach, is off on his first real trip away from home without us. He headed back to Montreal with my in-laws for some alone-time with them. With camp over and not a whole lot on the calendar, this is a great chance for him to forge some lifelong memories much like we did with our own grandparents so long ago.

When they were still with us, my wife's grandparents lived in Toronto - a six-hour drive away from our then-hometown of Montreal. Her parents regularly made the trip, and some of my wife's strongest images are from those trips. Now it's Zach's turn to do the same.

Debbie loaded his bags with enough clothes, books, games, and slices of home to last him until he returns. What we couldn't put into the bag was a piece of ourselves so that we would be with him for as long as he's gone. But at some point, we can no longer constantly be around him. He has to start learning what the world is like beyond his house, beyond the place where his parents and siblings are a constant presence.

That lesson started this morning as our 10-year-old little man waved goodbye to us from the back seat of our in-laws' car. He's somewhere in the hinterland of Ontario now, well on his way to the place where we grew up. When he comes home, he'll have done some growing up of his own. And so will we.

Your turn: How do you start letting go of a child? Can you ever really let go completely?

11 comments:

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

step one, you just did it today!
step two, my oldest daughter is 20, i pray she never really does let go of me completely, cuz i know i'll never completely let go of her

Mrs. Fun said...

its hard isn't it? My mom wanted to take my two older ones back with her for a few days and i couldn't do. Its hard enough letting them go to school,lol. I did let them stay last summer and drive back home two days later with my mom.
I guess there comes a point where they want you to let go so badly that you don't have a choice. You just let go, little fingers slipping from your hands....

Kathy said...

Well, when my husband's son was about 8...we went down to the bus station and put him on a bus to send him to, of all places, London, to visit with his aunt, uncle and cousins. He sat at the front of the bus, directly behind the driver and a friendly senior woman sat with beside him. He had snacks and books and probably a gameboy to keep him occupied for the 2 hour (approx.) drive. My husband cried as the bus pulled away. My daughter at 7, is far more mature than my stepson was at 7 but I can't even imagine putting her on a bus alone. I just wouldn't be able to do it yet.

mrsmogul said...

I haven't had that yet, but will in the future. .

Dean said...

The HouseApes are with grandma and grandpa on Mayne Island this week. Grandma's ecstatic, we're enjoying our time alone together, but man, it's an empty house.

Moogie said...

It's so very hard. I'm not entirely sure I'll ever be completely free. I don't want to be that's for sure. Little steps..baby steps. Letting them go on a sleepover, things like that. It doesn't get easier, you just find ways to cope.

Morah Mommy said...

It was so hard to let him go. Say goodnight to his siblings at tuck in time was the worst. His room is so empty!

He sounds so little when we speak to him on the phone.

I know he is having a grand old time and I look forward to hearing all about his adventure when we see him again!

Knockoff said...

I agree - I bet he's as excited about his adventure! Probably as much as you are feeling maybe a bit bittersweet about him growing up :)

sxKitten said...

You don't ever completely let go, you just adjust to parenting from a distance. My parents still keep tabs on my brother, sister and me, and worry and try to find ways to help without getting in the way.

But it's so hard to watch them walk away from you, to have a life you're not entirely part of any more ...

julie said...

When my daughter was 5 and starting public school, the teacher sent a note home on the last day of the first week. It said please don't walk your child to class. Drop them off in front of the building. They are perfectly capable of walking to class themselves and it's part of the process of encouraging independence.
I cried all weekend at the thought.
On Monday, she popped out of the car as I choked back tears. She never looked back...happily and excitedly running towards her future.
She's 18 now and I still cry when she leaves and says "Oh, Mommy, it's ok. I'll be fine!"
It never got easier for me. I just hope I gave her the skills to take care of herself.

julie said...

When my daughter was 5 and starting public school, the teacher sent a note home on the last day of the first week. It said please don't walk your child to class. Drop them off in front of the building. They are perfectly capable of walking to class themselves and it's part of the process of encouraging independence.

I cried all weekend at the thought.

On Monday, she popped out of the car as I choked back tears. She never looked back...happily and excitedly running towards her future.

She's 18 now and I still cry when she leaves and says "Oh, Mommy, it's ok. I'll be fine!"

It never got easier for me. I just hope I gave her the skills to take care of herself.