I’ve known it was coming for a while. Each year the undercurrent of change ripples a little more strongly in this house full of teenagers.
The letting go is here. The quiet of the house is resounding.
The pile of shoes by the door was missing-stacking up only at curfew, waiting impatiently for the next day’s adventures.
The number of text messages sitting unread on their phones-stacked up, creating a sea of blue invitations that they are too busy to enjoy with me in these days that are filled with sports, friends, and endless coming and going.
Dripping ice cream cones, dangling legs in the pool, front lawn soccer games, and hours at the park that always felt like they would never end. All of these seem like distant echoes of a time that happened all at once and all too quickly.
I feel it so deeply this summer — more than ever.
As a teacher, I am surrounded all day by constant chatter and chaos, Never a moment of silence, and always needed for something by somebody.
For so many years, summer was an opportunity to be fully present to my boys’ chatter, chaos, and needs. I dedicated my heart to filling those fleeting summer months to catching up on the lost time that the busy pace of the school year brings.
The tide has been turning for years
The tide has been turning for a few years — the bikes being gone for hours, football games in the park with friends, rather than soccer games on the front lawn with me. The radius of freedom grows wider with each passing year of summer sunsets.
And now, here I am. With all the time in the world to myself.
To read, to write, to properly train for races, to take my sculpt classes uninterrupted, to enjoy long walks with my dog without worrying about being too far away in case someone needs me.
To do all of the things I have struggled for years to fit into my daily life. Things I wished and yearned for. Things that never seemed like they would be right around the corner. And yet here they are in full force.
Not just in these summer days, but really now, for life. The letting go is hard.
My teens don’t need me like they once did
Knowing my teens don’t need me like they did when they were little and that they don’t crave time with me in the way they used to. That they don’t want to get ice cream, go to the pool, or need me to be right there, just in case.
The letting go is hard. But, the letting go is also beautiful.
There’s so much promise in watching my teens march forward into their futures with dreams that they are building for themselves. Their horizons wide open. Their paths uncharted. Seeking their own ways to fill their hearts and heading out into the warm summer sunshine determined to discover who they really are.
And there is also magic in rediscovering myself. Not just as a parent but as a person. Reconnecting with the dreams I have put on hold and watching them unfold again. Getting reacquainted with my husband of 20 years as we begin to remember what it was like when it was just the two of us and plan for soon when it will be just the two of us again.
Sharing hours of treasured time with friends, with no need to rush home to drive someone somewhere they can now get to on their own.
The letting go is finally here
Sometimes I cry.
Sometimes I sit with it and think.
Sometimes I write.
Sometimes I rebel, pushing it away with all of my might. Turning those rippling undercurrents into cresting tidal waves of teenage emotions as I try and halt the process and squeeze too tightly.
And then I remember that whatever I do, the letting go is here.
And it is my responsibility to them and to myself, to accept it. To embrace it. To continue to love, to show up, to support, to check in, and to guide, to be present always.
To be their lighthouse rather than their light. And also to let them go.
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