photo credit smcgee
“Scenes of my young years were warm in my mind,
Visions of shadows that shine.
Til one day i returned and found they were the
Victims of the vines of changes.” — Phil Ochs, Changes
I’ve always loved this song, but today I found myself becoming the lyrics. I don’t know why these realizations come when they do but today was my day. I “got it” that my son and daughter have grown up. Not that I didn’t see it coming, of course. But there’s something about a college graduation paired with an upcoming wedding that makes the change unmistakable.
It’s not their growing up that gets me; they’ve been doing that for awhile. It’s the fact that I have to keep letting go. I don’t think I’ve understood until now just how much loving means letting go.
My son told me this morning that his graduate degree advisor will be sponsoring him to get his master diver certification. (AJ is now involved in a project combining marine biology with environmental habitat evaluation.) What this means, to me, is that AJ is no longer 18 months old – the year he first stood in front of the TV set, mesmerized by an Animal Planet ocean special. He has never wavered in his love of the deep or choice of study. But now I’m not the one signing him up for diving lessons. I’m not the one putting him on the camp bus or watching him use his first surf board. I’m not needed the way I once was.
My job description is changing. I’ll always be his mother and Lauren’s mother. But as I watch him “swim on” in his life, and realize that Lauren, herself, may be a mother in a few years, I sit and wonder where that part of my life went. There was a time when Mother was the biggest and most important thing I did. No longer.
It doesn’t actually change anything. I’m busy with the activities and pursuits that have meaning to me and that give me pleasure. But there’s been a shift — a stage-of-life shift and I’m slowly absorbing its significance. I wish my parents were around to talk to about it but that’s part of this shift, too. I’m the one at the top of the hill now, so I might as well enjoy the view and the ride. It really is an amazing trip.