4.17.2007

Letting Go...

He is four years old. Though he still clings to me at times, demanding mommy love and protection, he is slowly finding his own way. My hand is no longer automatically sought after when we approach a street; my company is not immediately required for bedtime rituals and upset tummies. He can choose his own clothes and ride the bus to Kindergarten all by himself… And I notice that his cheeks are losing some of their sweet roundness, his face taking on an angularity that suggests his father.

At the airport I watch awkward teens accompany their parents on spring break trips. Slumped and hooded, absorbed in their iPods and Consoles. All adam’s apple and acne.

When August brings the freshmen to campus, I watch the parents with new interest. Letting go. Cars crammed with lamps and laundry baskets, unloading at the side of the dorm. Photos and kisses and I love you, Honey.

Then the quiet drive home with them gone.

Today it is hard not to be preoccupied with what has happened at Virginia Tech. It’s hard to listen to the news accounts without imagining the unspeakable experiences of those parents whose children died or were in danger, without imagining what it would be like to receive that petrified call from your child in peril, and knowing you can do nothing whatsoever about it except to reassure them that there’s nothing to worry about… Mommy and Daddy are here to keep you safe...

I'm so sorry...

16 comments:

Oh, The Joys said...

Yes. So sorry and so sad.

slouching mom said...

You've gotten it just right, how I am feeling today.

Only it's even a bit more personal for us, because one of my husband's colleagues, whose research was similar to my husband's and who edited the same journal, was killed. And my husband attended a conference at VT just last November.

Very frightening.

But even had we not known anyone, the news is just as tragic, just as incomprehensible.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

It's terrible. Still can't fathom it

ozma said...

It's so sad. It's so terrible.

Yes, that is what I think when you hear these terrible things. You want there to be a safe space in the world so you can let go. And then you have to remember there are no perfectly safe spaces. How do we do let go?

Kelly said...

I think we feel the potential crush of loss so much more when they're young. That's when we're convinced of the harm that can befall them.

In that way, I guess, it's so completely unexpected, the death of young adults, to something so completely unfathomable as mass murder. Who in their right mind could imagine something so insane?

My heart goes out to all the parents, to everyone, who lost someone.

Mimi said...

Yes, it is so sad. Being a parent makes it even sadder...

Lawyer Mama said...

Yes. I live in Virginia and everyone around us has ties to the school & we've been there many times for football games. It's normally such a fun school. The kids are incredibly bright, but incredibly full of life. Now, well, I can't even fathom how much it will change. Everyone is hurting. Those poor families....

flutter said...

The most heartbreak a parent can feel. I have nothing by way of children and my heart mourns.

Mamma said...

It is so incredibly heartbreaking. All we want to do is hold them tight. And we can't forever. mmph!

Mrs. Davis said...

Seeing the news yesterday was so hard -- as a mom, as a faculty wife, and as someone who worked in higher ed for 12 years. Our university town, hundreds of miles away from Va. Tech, was sadly quiet today, and I cried when I drove past one of the college bars this afternoon and saw "Carpe Deim" on their sign outside.

Amanda said...

Numb, but for the occasional moment of searing pain as my mind once again tries to comprehend the senselessness of the tragedy and the utter fragility of life.

wordgirl said...

In August, I'll be one of those first-time parents required to "let go" of their college freshman. I'm more terrified now than ever.

Redneck Mommy said...

There are just no words for the horror so many endured, and will continue to endure because of the choice of one man.

So sad.

DysdHousewife said...

I too posted about VT. I guess it's all we can do to show our support. And the part about the 4 year old letting go? Mine is three and he's already doing that. ACK.

Mimi said...

It's all different, once you become a mom, isn't it?
(the breach mimi)

Mad Hatter said...

Wow. This made me cry, Joy. Not the big implications of it all--just the little slice of life feel to it. Overwhelming.