Beautiful Boy

My son FINALLY got a job! He is moving out of the house!  He is moving 600 miles away!

That is something to be celebrated, right?  Right, of course it is, then why am I feeling so unmoored?

My feelings seem to vacillate between pure joy and abject terror, with a touch of nausea and sleeplessness thrown in.  I knew my job as a mother going into this.  All of the cliches: Give them wings, they are only ours temporarily, etc.  Ad nauseam.

Moving On Quotes 0234-236 (Quotes About Children) (18)

I never wanted children.  My childhood was often miserable.  I grew up petrified of my father and his temper.  There was a lot of emotional abuse, and intermittent physical abuse.  My father believed in tough love, and my mother enabled him to steamroll us with his angry words, his belt and sometimes his fist.  It was often a house of cards, we never knew what was going to set him off.  Was it our behavior, or the booze fueled memories of past infractions?

I knew I could never be the disciplinarian I needed to be to raise respectful, decent children, so I decided not to have any. That, and I didn’t really like kids all that much.  Then I made a deal.  I got engaged with the caveat that I would have a child.  At age 28 that seemed reasonable.  I could get married, put off getting pregnant for a few years, or maybe, if I got really lucky,  it wouldn’t happen at all.  It happened, on the honeymoon.

One of the most amazing things occurred, I made a human.  A beautiful, headstrong, gifted, brilliant, angry boy. The connection was instantaneous,and he was MINE, all mine.

andrew baby

My son never had a great relationship with his father.  It would take Freud, Jung and a 5,000 word blog to explain the psychology behind it, if it could be explained at all.  His father never seemed to like him, and it got worse as he got older.  It then became physically abusive,and it was time for he and I to go.

I ended up divorced, and in a prolonged custody battle.  I eventually ended up with custody, and court approval to move.  I needed to get my son away from his abusive father before further damage could be done.  So we moved, a thousand miles away, and our bond got tighter.

He excelled in high school, graduated in the top of his class, received numerous scholarships for college.  He chose the university 40 minutes away.  We continued to see each other weekly, for lunch.  He came home infrequently on weekends, but was home for every break.  The only time he was gone was each summer to visit his father, per court order. I dreaded these breaks, they were filled with tearful calls from my son, and angry, profanity filled calls from my ex.  The gap between them grew larger, and the bond between my son and I got tighter.

andrew an i 2

The divorce, the custody battle, and the estrangement with his father has been difficult on him.  We have spent countless hours discussing it.  The only advice I could ever offer was to somehow find a way to put the relationship in a place where it could not continue to hurt him.  It took until this past year for him to finally figure out where that place is.  With that knowledge, and acceptance that he really only has one person who will always be there for him, not matter what, we grew closer still.

He is the thing that I am most proud of in my life.  He owns my heart, always has, and always will.

Now he is moving.  Opening those wings and taking flight.  I am happy for him, it is time for his life to begin, time for him to be on his own, move into adulthood.

andrew an i

As I prepare for him to move, a wave will come over me, it feels like someone has punched me in the stomach.  This is it, he is no longer MINE, not in the way he has been for all these years.  The time has come, I have to open my arms and let him go.

As with all things in my life, change is difficult for me.  In time I will adjust, it is part of the journey, and the only way out is through.

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we’ll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it’s a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans

Beautiful Boy-John Lennon


12 thoughts on “Beautiful Boy

  1. What a lovely, heartfelt and honest post…you gave me a lump in my throat, thinking of that inevitable day I will help my children move out and begin their own adult lives. Honestly, at the moment I can’t even imagine it! You are brave and strong, and you are obviously a wonderful mother to him…what a beautiful thing to be able to say you’ve given your son his wings, and he is taking flight.

  2. I feel for you. And…. what a beautiful post. You are a wonderful mother.
    I don’t have children but I can remember when I moved out the house that I was baffled and truth be said, a bit irritated with my mothers reluctancy to let me go. It is good for me to read the other side of the story. 600 Miles! It is far. In our European standard we would be 3 countries away from eachother. 😦 Well, one thing: my relation with my mother only improved with us seeing eachother less but with more quality time. Be strong.
    xx, Feeling

  3. You have every right to feel like you do. I was never blessed to have children of my own but my friends that have shared with me their pain as their children moved on. There is a real grieving period that they went through and it was very painful for them. They got through just as you will get through. We don’t know what is around the corner maybe he will not like it there and move back, maybe you will move closer or maybe you will both have some awesome holidays visiting each other to come (don’t pack the Gilmore Girls on those one’s you won’t need them). Share your feelings on hear or with a friend or even with your son, they are natural and pure and are a beautiful reflection of the love and bond you have with him.

  4. oh man…
    I hope my son feels the same about me..knowing that I am always here, no matter what.
    He’s 22 and lives close, but , as a chef, his hours are insane and it’s hard to see him, and there was a definite grieving process involved in his leaving. But we are closer than ever, and yes, that is our job…to give them what they need to live in this crazy world.

    Your boy is adorable and sounds awesome….rely on us and your friends and know that distance means nothing…he’s always your boy.

    a lucky boy to have a mamma like you!

  5. Wow. I love that openess you have. That bond will always be there.

    How joyful, but painful to see him move on. Take care of yourself. Now it’s time to spread your own wings too.



  6. Oh my god girl…you got me with this one. I never wanted kids for the same reason as you but as they say, man plans God laughs…as a result of yours mine and ours, I ended up with six.

    And they are my everything.

    Another one moved onto campus this weekend and I’m trying to remain together. This is what’s supposed to happen right? Then why do I feel like shit?

    Hang tough mama.


  7. I love this. Ya almost made me cry…esp with the Lennon song. I have two young boys and I am mad about them and worry about them and I get torn up inside thinking about how dangerous I was with the oldest when he was a baby, me in my throes of alcoholism and taking bad, bad, risks. But they are safe right now, and they are beyond loved, like your boy was by you. You are a lovely woman and human and mother and he is certainly lucky to have you. A sober, happy you. The bond between mother and son is so strong, so very strong. I send blessings to the both of you and thank you for this.


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