For anyone with a child: Something personal

Cheryl Kees Clendenon In Detail Says, Just cool stuff 7 Comments

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So I think I am pretty “real” on my blog. For me, that is part of the attraction. To be who I am and not to hide behind any pretenses. I put it out there for anyone and everyone to read….great projects, sucky problems with clients and vendors, what I consider to be good design….and bad design.  And, I try to also talk to readers as  I would a client and help educate them on the processes I deal with every day.

Today’s post is different. I have a child graduating from high school and moving on to the college experience. The last few months have been kinda hellish I have to say. On her part, my part, more on my part then a bit more on her part. I think it is about letting go and both of us finding our way. I wanted to share the following passage with you. Maybe you care  and maybe you do not but if you have a child, it will resonate I think.

When you were little I helped you learn to walk. I would hold your hands above your head and help you balance yourself.

After a bit of time, I would start to let go of one hand….then eventually the other one and you would take a few steps and then, at first, fall on the floor. I never saw you cry. You would laugh and hold out your hands for me to help you up. Then we started all over again. And again.

Eventually you needed my help less and less and I would just hover in the background ready to catch you. Then one day  you just got up and started walking by yourself. With a nonchalant attitude like it was a piece of cake and that we had not just spent a month practicing falling and getting up again. You hardly ever faltered after that day. I laughed and I cried all at the same time. I was so proud of you!

This was the first milestone where you started needing me just a bit less. You could get yourself where you needed to go ( and you had lots of places you wanted to go!) and did not want to be picked up as often ( ME can do it!!) which meant a bit less cuddling and holding you tight. My “baby” had found the joy of independence but there were days I was wistful for my sweet cuddly baby who wanted nothing more than to be held by momma.

I think I feel that way now. Like I have helped you as much as I can ( or that you will let me) learn to balance and need to let go of your hands so you can take some steps without mom holding on. Still here though, in the background, ready to celebrate the first steps towards a new milestone of independence but always there if you take a tumble.

It still feels as bittersweet as it did years ago and I suppose I will worry no less than I did then. Loving you as you gain your independence as a young adult but knowing that it means maybe a bit less cuddling and holding you tight. (or, knowing where you are all the time and seeing you every day)

I was proud of you then and am more proud of you now. Simple words cannot convey the emotion and depth of love I have for you, my child.

I love you around the world and back again. And again. And again.


Comments 7

  1. I have a 20 y.o. son, so I’ve just been through this. I also have a 17 y.o.son, so I’ll be going through it again. You’ve obviously put in the work at the beginning. True, she’s heading off on her own now. But you’ll always be “mom” and she’ll come back. The relationship changes, and that change is GOOD. Trust me on this …

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  2. I agree she is very lucky to have you!
    I have two daughters 18 and 22. I would give anything to have them run around the corner looking for a snack or a push on the swing. When my oldest went to college it felt as if I were mourning, mourning her childhood.

    I wish you strength through the upcoming years. Going away to college is good practice for what comes after college. Supporting them when they go after their dream job, when they tell you they’re moving away.

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  3. I enlisted in the Army at age 18. I was stationed in Germany and did not see my parents for close to three years. During that period of time, I had quite a correspondence with both of my parents, but more with my father because we were so similar. He was a carpenter; I have become a cabinetmaker. He wrote a novel he could not publish; I wrote two I could not publish. We were both voracious readers. It took me a while to develop his interest in history, but I did. For the last decade or so of his life, it had gotten to where whenever I found a history book that looked interesting, I ordered two—one for me, one for him. We would both read them and discuss hell out of what we’d read. At the moment I am making my way through a 700-page tome on Oliver Cromwell and enjoying every bit of it. It is very much the kind of book the Old Man and I would have discussed at some length.

    In one of Dad’s last letters to me before I left Berlin to come home he told me that he had been my teacher all of my life, but that he knew this time was now passing. “Most of your learning now,” he said, “will be at the feet of others.” And so it was. But he was the one who instilled the love of so many kinds of learning in me. And though he’s been gone now since 1989, he is still the most influential person in my life.

    But, Cheryl, the best is yet to come, because what I loved most about my father was being able to go to his house as an adult. I always took a six-pack of beer, and the two of us would sit in his study for hours on end immersed in deep, philosophical discussions, probing the depths, Dad always called it. We were still father and son, but different now because I was long since an adult and had my own life and my own values. But most of those values came from him.

    Your daughter will spread her wings now, and that is as it should be. No bird soars too high if she flies on her own wings. But she will return to the nest, for advice, for help sometimes, but mostly just to be with you. And those times, those long, long evenings of remembering the childhood years, those golden, laugh-filled evenings—those times are the best of times. Treasure them.

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