To be honest, I’m an emotional wreck, have no idea what I’m writing, and should probably just start drinking.

Let me preface this by saying that my son is going to college tomorrow.


(the sweetest little sweet pea, ever)


(dorm room + fraternity rush + slutty college girls + God only knows what else)


(practically today)

I’m a little emotional.

After not being able to write anything for a week, I’ve written at least five (5) long, rambling, sentimental, mushy posts in the last few hours.

(and there’s kleenex everywhere to prove it…)

None of which are fit to print, at least not anywhere my son might find them before he’s too old to be embarrassed by me. (Which is probably never, I guess.)

There is a common theme running through everything I’ve written today:

“What the fuck just happened?”


“I wish I were a kangaroo mom.”


“Being a mother is sweet, prolonged agony, pretty much.”

Heavy sigh.

Here’s the rub of motherhood:

First you’re in charge of ensuring the very survival of a brand-new human being, which is fucking terrifying:

Me:  You’re discharging me from the hospital and I’m supposed to *take* this newborn baby with me?  Out of the hospital?” 

Evil Nurse:  Yes.  That baby cries more than any newborn I’ve ever seen.  Good luck.”

Then, even if your kid sleeps (and mine didn’t….) you never get another good night’s sleep.  Ever.

(first you’re hovering over his bassinette, gently rubbing his cheek to make sure he’s still breathing and swallowing the lump in your throat that you get every time you look at him, then you read to him and sing him to sleep, while you learn how to half-sleep and then slide yourself out of his bed without making a peep and you go to your own bed, but you’re still only half-sleeping because what if he cries out for you? plus you’re just waiting for the pitter-patter of his little feet running to you in the middle of the night because he’s scared and should probably just spend the rest of the night in your bed, and you know you should take him back to his bed, but you love watching him sleep — which is all you can do, because  getting any sleep yourself is out of the question with him sprawled at impossible angles across your bed — and then you’re hovering outside his bedroom door to make sure he turns off the PlayStation/TV/cell phone and goes to bed at a reasonable hour and, when the coast is clear, you sneak in and take the controller/remote/phone out of his hand and you smooth his hair (because you’re not allowed to touch it when he’s awake) and you kiss his forehead and you swallow the lump in your throat again because how did you get to be so lucky? and then you wait up at night when you know he’s out and you try not to watch the clock but you do, and you’re waiting for his call to let you know he’s safe and sometimes you pretend to be asleep when he comes in the door, but you’re not and you swallow the lump in your throat because he’s such a good kid, and even if you don’t usually talk to God, you find yourself saying “thank you God, thank you for bringing him home safe tonight” and sometimes when it’s late and you don’t know where he is, you check facebook to see if he’s “checked in” anywhere and then you’re all “thank GOD for facebook…”)

Then, on top of the “no-sleep-ever-again” deal, it turns out that your entire job is to love him with every fiber of your being and to prepare him to not need you.

(Dramatic?  Yes.  I told you I’m an emotional wreck tonight….)


I am excited for my son.  I know he’s on the brink of a grand adventure.  I want him to enjoy every minute of his college experience.



The thing is that I know this whole dramatic “mood” of mine doesn’t even really make sense given our circumstances.

I’ve shared custody of my son with his Dad since he was two. (Bummer.) When he was 16, he decided he was tired of splitting his life between two houses and has lived primarily with his Dad since. (Understandable and Ouch!) And he was a camp counsellor this summer, so I only saw him a couple of times all summer. (Yuck.)

So, it’s not like this is the first time he is leaving “the nest”, or “my nest”, anyway.

Why does this feel so different/awful/huge/sad?

Partly because, even though he hasn’t always been with me the past 19 years, I’ve known, for the most part (and please don’t tell me any scary stories about all the times that he wasn’t where I thought he was…. I’m already on the verge) where he was and who he was with and/or who was responsible for him.

And now he is responsible for himself and I trust him.

(and I’m not just saying that, I do trust him.)

It’s just that the world seems very big and very dangerous to me tonight.

And the lump in my throat feels too big to swallow away. 

Wish me (and, mostly, him) luck tomorrow!




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7 responses to “To be honest, I’m an emotional wreck, have no idea what I’m writing, and should probably just start drinking.

  1. Your title grabbed me! My only regret about reading your great piece is that I wish I could write humour as well as you do. Still laughing 🙂

  2. Claire P

    That’s beautiful, love. My sweet weird brilliant nutty little lad is currently playing his trombone (you know, KIND OF) along to a youtube concerto and breaking my heart with the road we are yet to travel.

    ACK…. margaritas all round I think!

  3. Oh I have all of this to come! I am already becoming a little weepy at the prospect of having to split my time and affections when the new baby is here for fear i will be depriving my son of cuddles that are rightfully his… the guilt!

    Thank you for such an insight into the years to come. I do wonder though; do you think you would be feeling the same if your son was a daughter?

    • kim

      Oh man…. I don’t know if I would feel any differently if my son were a daughter.

      I really can’t imagine being capable of loving any other being (male or female) as much as I love my son. I think that is a big part of why I only have one child. Everyone tells me that it’s possible, and that your love multiplies….. I don’t think they are all lying to me 😉

      Good luck!


  4. irene

    you’re passing thru the empty nest . . .just keep doing what you’re doing – trusting him and expressing yourself. . . you’ll get to the other side of it. this is a big one!
    stay present and open to receive the gifts (i write this more for me than you)! love you, i

  5. Oh gosh! I have four kids and not a one went to college. Frankly, the only way I could have paid for it was to start hooking – and I am allergic to jails.

    They all did leave the nest. Kind of in a flood between ’04 and ’05. They got married or apartments or both, and the hardest part? Watching my baby girl walk down the aisle. Oh.My.Gawd.

    The other three still comment on what a blubbering idjit I was that day and how I didn’t act like that at their weddings.

    I tried to explain it was my baby up there.

    They didn’t get it.

    Until….they had babies of their own.

    And now, the whole lump-in-the-throat thing? Yeah, it’s happening all over again with my grandbabies.

    Motherhood is never-ending. It is, however, always changing.

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