Tears at the end of motherhood

I’m not even sure if I’m going to post this, but I have tears streaming down my face, and that is usually a good time to start writing.

I am the mother of very fine daughters and now they are grown.

Meredith’s band/chorus concert was lovely. I sat with friends which made it extra nice. They had a son up there too, and we’ve watched these kids grow up together. What we weren’t expecting came at the end of the concert (which, for the record, lasted nearly two and a half hours). They filmed all the senior musicians being goofy a couple of days ago. The filming was done on the front lawn of the high school. They played the video for the audience on a giant screen. Basically, it was four minutes and four seconds of the kids waving good-bye. The chorus sang through the whole thing.

Ripped me right up. I cried, and fought to keep it only at crying. What I wanted to do was to burst into hulking sobs.

So I came home, more or less putting it together in the car. Shortly after I got in, the phone rang. The call was from my oldest, Steph, at the U2 concert in the Meadowlands. She called and held up her phone so I could hear the band play “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, because she knows I like that stuff.

That did it. I’ve been blubbering for half an hour. I can only now begin to see the screen.

Why is all of this affecting me so powerfully? I was not like this when Steph graduated two years ago. I think it has everything to do with Mer being my “youngest”. (Yes, I have a stepson in 7th grade, but that is a shared custody situation, and I wasn’t there he was small. But you think I’m bad now? I shudder to think what I’ll be like when he’s ready to go. ) These two girls were the babies I carried inside me, the babies I nursed. I’ve watched them from the beginning. I was a young mother (23 when the first one was born) and I made more than my share of mistakes, trust me. That they have turned out as well as they have is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.

This feeling has something to do with watching them be both vulnerable and strong at the same time. I know what an awful, scary, hideous place the world can be. And I know that to realize their purpose, they have to go out there and take their place among those who fight for the betterment of all. Both girls have been through hard struggles, and they have emerged women; women I am proud to know.

So my job is done. Or it’s changing, drastically. You never stop being a parent. But the heavy lifting is done. It feels like we’re walking down a one-way street. I’m pretty sure that the adventure at the end of the block will be a blast, but right now I’m bittersweet about leaving.

But then again, I’m not. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Meredith is ready. She has earned those wings she’s so busy flapping.

OK, enough drama. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around. Next time I bitch about a certain high school senior having a flat tire or a speeding ticket, remind me of this post. Oh, and a warning. Mer’s prom is Friday night. I might need medication to get through the weekend.

I going to chat with God now and give thanks for this amazing life.

54 Replies to “Tears at the end of motherhood”

  1. Being 23 myself, I wish my mom could read this post.
    They should make a club or something called Moms Unite, for when their kids are ready to fly.

    Good luck making it throught Prom with her!

  2. Being 23 myself, I wish my mom could read this post.
    They should make a club or something called Moms Unite, for when their kids are ready to fly.

    Good luck making it throught Prom with her!

  3. Being 23 myself, I wish my mom could read this post.
    They should make a club or something called Moms Unite, for when their kids are ready to fly.

    Good luck making it throught Prom with her!

  4. Hi,

    I just wanted to say how much I absolutely *LOVED* your novel Speak. It was absolutely amazing. I just had to let you know how much I appreciate it 🙂

    Thank you!
    -Jess

  5. Hi,

    I just wanted to say how much I absolutely *LOVED* your novel Speak. It was absolutely amazing. I just had to let you know how much I appreciate it 🙂

    Thank you!
    -Jess

  6. Hi,

    I just wanted to say how much I absolutely *LOVED* your novel Speak. It was absolutely amazing. I just had to let you know how much I appreciate it 🙂

    Thank you!
    -Jess

  7. OMG! My oldest is only seven and you had me crying! I tell them all the time that they are not allowed to grow up. They laugh at me and tell me they have to. That’s how it works. Then, they promise to live with me forever and go to college just down the street. Really, I wish we could just skip over ages 16-21. I have three girls and I’m scared! Can’t wait to hear about the prom though.

  8. OMG! My oldest is only seven and you had me crying! I tell them all the time that they are not allowed to grow up. They laugh at me and tell me they have to. That’s how it works. Then, they promise to live with me forever and go to college just down the street. Really, I wish we could just skip over ages 16-21. I have three girls and I’m scared! Can’t wait to hear about the prom though.

  9. OMG! My oldest is only seven and you had me crying! I tell them all the time that they are not allowed to grow up. They laugh at me and tell me they have to. That’s how it works. Then, they promise to live with me forever and go to college just down the street. Really, I wish we could just skip over ages 16-21. I have three girls and I’m scared! Can’t wait to hear about the prom though.

  10. Mine. Two boys, 12 and 15…both soon to be another year older.
    I understand. Bittersweet tears that are hard earned, difficult, but actually quite joyful…the page turns…

  11. Mine. Two boys, 12 and 15…both soon to be another year older.
    I understand. Bittersweet tears that are hard earned, difficult, but actually quite joyful…the page turns…

  12. Mine. Two boys, 12 and 15…both soon to be another year older.
    I understand. Bittersweet tears that are hard earned, difficult, but actually quite joyful…the page turns…

  13. A testament to YOU as a wonderful mother, as well! 🙂 I can only hope C. will grow up into as fabulous of a woman as your daughters have. And here I was, yesterday, getting weepy because she is soon finishing 4th grade. I will be a wreck when she graduates high school…..

    *HUGS*

  14. A testament to YOU as a wonderful mother, as well! 🙂 I can only hope C. will grow up into as fabulous of a woman as your daughters have. And here I was, yesterday, getting weepy because she is soon finishing 4th grade. I will be a wreck when she graduates high school…..

    *HUGS*

    1. Thanks, sweetie. But raising these girls has been a group effort: me, their dad, their stepparents, and wonderful godmothers. We used the whole “takes a village to raise a child” concept to the max!

      1. Ah yes. Of course! As a stepmother myself, and since C. is also being jointly (grouply?) raised by additional famiy members, I appreciate that! 🙂

  15. A testament to YOU as a wonderful mother, as well! 🙂 I can only hope C. will grow up into as fabulous of a woman as your daughters have. And here I was, yesterday, getting weepy because she is soon finishing 4th grade. I will be a wreck when she graduates high school…..

    *HUGS*

  16. Thanks, sweetie. But raising these girls has been a group effort: me, their dad, their stepparents, and wonderful godmothers. We used the whole “takes a village to raise a child” concept to the max!

  17. Thanks, sweetie. But raising these girls has been a group effort: me, their dad, their stepparents, and wonderful godmothers. We used the whole “takes a village to raise a child” concept to the max!

  18. Ah yes. Of course! As a stepmother myself, and since C. is also being jointly (grouply?) raised by additional famiy members, I appreciate that! 🙂

  19. Ah yes. Of course! As a stepmother myself, and since C. is also being jointly (grouply?) raised by additional famiy members, I appreciate that! 🙂

  20. had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

    my mother has been dreading the end of this year as much as i have been waiting for it. out of three children, i am the youngest, but the first to make it through high school and graduate. not to mention heading off to college in the fall. but with high school ending, so much more is beginning! it’s exciting. i just keep telling mer, we just getting started. but i’ll keep an eye on her! -chelle.

  21. had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

    my mother has been dreading the end of this year as much as i have been waiting for it. out of three children, i am the youngest, but the first to make it through high school and graduate. not to mention heading off to college in the fall. but with high school ending, so much more is beginning! it’s exciting. i just keep telling mer, we just getting started. but i’ll keep an eye on her! -chelle.

    1. Re: had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

      Welcome back! And thanks for looking out for my Mer.

      You are right about the whole “beginnings’ thing.

  22. had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

    my mother has been dreading the end of this year as much as i have been waiting for it. out of three children, i am the youngest, but the first to make it through high school and graduate. not to mention heading off to college in the fall. but with high school ending, so much more is beginning! it’s exciting. i just keep telling mer, we just getting started. but i’ll keep an eye on her! -chelle.

  23. speak…movie…huh?

    hey i just found out that Speak was made into a movie like this month. i’m really confused about when it will be shown on tv (if it will be) and when it will be available on dvd (if it will be) if it hasnt been shown yet. ahhhhh Speak (althought catalyst was pretty good too) really is a good book and now i’m so very excited about the movie.

  24. speak…movie…huh?

    hey i just found out that Speak was made into a movie like this month. i’m really confused about when it will be shown on tv (if it will be) and when it will be available on dvd (if it will be) if it hasnt been shown yet. ahhhhh Speak (althought catalyst was pretty good too) really is a good book and now i’m so very excited about the movie.

    1. Re: speak…movie…huh?

      They filmed the movie in August, 2003.

      It will be shown on Showtime cable in October. It is supposed to come out on DVD after that, but I don’t know when, exactly.

  25. speak…movie…huh?

    hey i just found out that Speak was made into a movie like this month. i’m really confused about when it will be shown on tv (if it will be) and when it will be available on dvd (if it will be) if it hasnt been shown yet. ahhhhh Speak (althought catalyst was pretty good too) really is a good book and now i’m so very excited about the movie.

  26. Re: speak…movie…huh?

    They filmed the movie in August, 2003.

    It will be shown on Showtime cable in October. It is supposed to come out on DVD after that, but I don’t know when, exactly.

  27. Re: speak…movie…huh?

    They filmed the movie in August, 2003.

    It will be shown on Showtime cable in October. It is supposed to come out on DVD after that, but I don’t know when, exactly.

  28. Re: had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

    Welcome back! And thanks for looking out for my Mer.

    You are right about the whole “beginnings’ thing.

  29. Re: had to get a new name… it’s chelle by the way.

    Welcome back! And thanks for looking out for my Mer.

    You are right about the whole “beginnings’ thing.

  30. “OK, enough drama. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around.”

    Oh, I read every word. Just going out to dinner last night with both of my girls got me all sappy. I can totally relate. sigh.

  31. “OK, enough drama. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around.”

    Oh, I read every word. Just going out to dinner last night with both of my girls got me all sappy. I can totally relate. sigh.

  32. “OK, enough drama. If you’re still reading this, thanks for sticking around.”

    Oh, I read every word. Just going out to dinner last night with both of my girls got me all sappy. I can totally relate. sigh.

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