I've mixed up my morning ride to work these past few weeks and I'm taking a less stressful route. It's much more "neighborhood" than the busy thoroughfare that boasts nothing but strip malls and fast food restaurants that encourages a ton of zig-zagging in and out of the lanes. It's typically a white-knuckle kind of ride to work and home, so it's much better on the nerves to start the day with this route instead.
I noticed on my drive one particular house that has a bus sitting in front of it, waiting for some kid to come out everyday. And while I drive by, I catch a glimpse of the door opening, mom in her robe, holding the door for her son who meanders to the bus. Every single day, this mom watches as her son walks to the bus and then she shuts the door, happily convinced he's okay on his way to school.
This wouldn't be such an odd sight except the kid is probably in high school--or he's just one of those gigantor middle-schoolers that they make nowadays. I crack up because this woman is still worried about him getting on that bus safely, even though he's probably taller than she.
So, when I first started watching these two, I wondered at what point do you stop worrying about your kids? Is it in middle school? God knows a lot of parents check out at that point. Is it high school? College? When they are married and have kids?
Maybe some of us are just never gonna stop worrying and making sure our kids are okay. And then when they get married and have kids of their own, I'm gonna have to worry about them too. Gees, this parenthood stuff is tough--I do a lot of worrying and checking. But apparently I'm not alone--I've got Robe Lady with me on this ride.
These past couple of years have been difficult ones for me as my kids have grown up and don't need me as much anymore. My job as a stay-at-home-mom has been downsized and I wasn't quite ready for that. Oh, I've managed well enough--got a job, and let them go on their own, but it wasn't easy. I did a bit of boo-hooing in the process and lots of writing about it.
My problem with them getting older hasn't been about them leaving me, it was mostly about who am I now? What is my role? What do I do? So, as the high school years flew by, I didn't have a problem with Colin getting closer to graduation. I didn't cry at his last home football game or his last marching band performance. I didn't feel sad for some reason--I liked that he was moving on and growing up. So while the other moms were boo-hooing, I was stoic, because I didn't feel sad about any of it.
Well, until Wednesday night.
Colin and a few other bandmates were chosen for the South Suburban Conference Band concert. It is a day where some of the best band students from the schools in our conference come together, rehearse, and then perform for an audience that night. He was excited to be included in such an elite group of performers and we were very proud to see him included as well.
The concert was magnificent and the music incredible--it was hard to believe that this group had only one day to rehearse the difficult music. And I'm not sure who chose this music, but gees, it was powerful. It was very emotional music and then they added some dramatic readings to go along with each song, so I think they were setting me up.
I was fine until the last song. Okay, so I switched seats so that I could get a better view of Col on that crowded stage and maybe that's what put me over the edge. As the music swelled, so did my eyes. My heart suddenly broke with the thought that this was it--the last time that he would play with the band and how absolutely wonderful this whole band stuff was for the last 4 years. And now it was over. Well, almost anyway.
I was a goner. I sobbed. And it was a good sob. My shoulders shook, tears poured down my cheeks and I couldn't catch my breath. Thank god my mom was there with her crunchy bag of Kleenex or Row 17 would have been flooded. I guess all those feelings were there, but were just lying dormant and it just took this incredible music to bring it all to a head.
I think of Robe Lady and me, and even though we may live very different lives, we have this connecting thread--this strange thing called "motherhood". This weird force within that makes us worry, watch our kid walk to the bus, and to cry at band concerts. I'm not sure when this happened to me or why, but my life has become those two kids, and it is very hard to give that up.