As I mentioned yesterday, I've grappling with letting go--mostly of stuff. But I am also having to let go a little bit of my baby. My youngest graduated from high school last month and will be moving on to college in just a month. Unlike his older siblings, when he heads off to college he will be going five miles up the road instead of 1500 miles across the country. He is going to live in the dorm for at least the first year so that he can get a taste of independence and learn to handle money, time, and school without Mom and Dad right there to double check things. I am pretty sure he is ready. But it is hard to watch the last one fly. Of course, based on his older siblings, the flight in August will probably include a return leg or two and maybe even a few stints back under our roof. However, it will never be the same.
Now all through high school, I did not give my kids total free rein. I had to know where they were, who they were with, and what time to expect them home. I still had veto power over some activities. When the older ones left, it was easier to relinquish that control because they were so far away there was nothing I could do about anything anyway. With the youngest staying so close, I am having to make a conscious effort to give him the freedom a college freshman deserves. I made a first step last night.
He said he and his buddies from high school wanted to go see the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. It is a three hour movie. That means he would not be home until nearly 4am. That is an automatic no-go for my high school student. But for my college freshman, I did not object. I did not actually wait up for him but I did not sleep soundly either. He texted me around 3:15am to say he was coming home. Once he was back safe and sound I slept.
Then I got up and checked the news as the coffee brewed. I saw the horror that occurred at the midnight showing of Batman in Aurora, CO. I felt a pit in my stomach. That could just as easily have happened in Virginia as in Colorado. My heartfelt prayers go out to all those who lost loved ones in this tragedy. I pray for the repose of the souls who died.
This little voice in my head was trying to tell me, "See, you should have put your foot down. You should have said no!" But I poured my coffee and silenced that thought. As much as I want to keep my "baby" safe, he is a young man, not a little boy. He deserves the chance to use his judgment and make his choices. I have taught him what I can and will continue to offer guidance when I can. I will be ever on my knees in prayer for his safety, health, happiness, and spiritual growth. But it is time to let him fly.