Parents often are often encouraged to reflect and “weigh-in” on the future when making decisions about how to handle situations, something along the lines of pondering, “Will what is going on now matter in the future of the child?” and “How will what is going on at this moment impact them?”
Sleep is elusive. Not surprising; this has been a year of focusing on Holden—college applications, final year of International Baccalaureate (IB) study, final college visits, college decision, IB exams, graduation, placement tests, packing—to ready him for the final move, for the next chapter.
One of my parent friends shared with me years back that it was a full-time job having an IB student. (Great words of advice, Di. Thank you.) What she didn’t share was how the emotional toll of tremendous pride, worry and sadness accompany the busyness. Likely because I didn’t ask and also because none of us travel our journeys the same; our “suitcases” are packed a little differently.
This is the morning of the eve of Holden leaving. I am up early because the tape in my brain is playing non-stop—triggered by many things, among them an infant perched on his father’s knee at back-to-school-night last night. Eighteen years later I experienced the sensation of letdown, long past the time when my body should respond. But I guess the brain remembers, as does my womb and breasts.
Returning to my initial point of how what is going on now impacts the future of the child…pardon me, since it is 4am… I also have concern for my other babies–Josi, Aubry and Greyson. How will Holden leaving affect them? Many parents and friends feel I’m overly worried, but you see, we have an added layer. It’s known as adoption. And adoption is always tethered in loss. Events like Mother’s Day, birthdays, moves, or separations can trigger a whole host of feelings like grief, rejection, and control. These feelings are part of having been adopted (always will be) and, as a result, understanding and addressing them are part of the parenting landscape (note: I did just write and publish the wonderful What To Expect From Your Adopted Child for parents on this very subject!).
Together the kids, without mom and dad, took it upon themselves to synch their channels of communication—Skype accounts and email accounts—assuring they can be in contact with one another after Holden is away at college. I am mother-proud; their actions reflect how they love each other unconditionally, how considerate they are, embracing each other with respect, gratitude and grace.
Tomorrow is the day. What is happening does and will affect the futures of each of my children. How we handle this separation, this new chapter, impacts us all—Josi, Aubry and Greyson even more so. Our strength and comfort is each other. We will make this journey together. That’s what families do.