When the Loud One was brand-new, I mean like I-still-don’t-know-which-way-is-up-because-this-baby-is-completely-rocking-my-world brand new, I took her for our first walk around our New York City block.
My goals were minimal:
- Go one square block without actually losing her.
- Don’t cry in public. (Like many new moms, I was crying A LOT back then… hormones are like little bitches that call you fat and ugly when you’re at most vulnerable.)
I was just about halfway; I had made it to the second of four corners (hey, I did math stuff!) and was waiting for the light to change so I could cross the intersection. All of a sudden, I heard sniffling.
“Wait, someone is crying,” I thought to myself, “… is it me? No! Woohoo! Someone’s crying and it’s not me!”
So, I looked over to my right and there was a woman, weeping, and a young girl with an arm around the crying woman’s shoulders.
(I tried to give a look of sympathy, but I was so exhausted and could barely open my eyes, so who knows what THAT face looked like. Probably more like, “I’m on drugs and I’m on my way to Washington Square Park to buy them” than “I have a newborn and am not sleeping much at all.”)
The woman took a quick peek at the Loud One in the stroller and said, through her tears, “Oh, she’s beautiful. Enjoy every minute because it goes by so fast!”
And then that poor woman really lost it. Sobbing. Uncontrollably.
The young girl gave her a hug, gave me an eye roll over the woman’s shoulder and said, “Today’s my first day at NYU. She’s dropping me off at the dorm right now.”
Well, FORGET. ABOUT. IT.
I, of course, started sobbing and now this poor, young girl was stuck standing with two crazy, crying ladies when all she wanted to do was get back to her new dorm room and meet her new roommates and start her new life.
That 18-year old girl was, at that moment, the ONLY person on the corner of 9th and University that had her shit together.
It’s a similar story each time… Mom and Dad are sad, but they recognize that they have to let their kids go and live their lives. Live their dreams. And hopefully soar. (And yes, drink too much.)
After all, isn’t that our ultimate goal? To raise our kids to be strong and independent and willing to fly from our nest and do great things? Or maybe just fly from our nest and be happy? Or maybe just fly from our nest, period?
I think about that woman from 9th and University all the time. If all went according to plan, that young girl probably graduated from college two years ago.
What is she doing now? Did she get a job? Does she have younger siblings? Did they go to college? Did their Mom cry just as hard when they left? Are they still close? How long did it take the Mom to stop crying? (Because it took me about 12 weeks with each kid.) Maybe that girl is married now… can you imagine how hard her Mom must have cried at her wedding?? And at the birth of her first grandchild???
Next Monday, MY baby will start preschool. I will have to drop him off and leave him there. Without me. (Just for a few hours, but STILL.) It’s not college, obviously… but it’s still bittersweet. I know he’ll be fine. As for me, I’m sure I’ll cry. I still blame the effing hormones. (Only now it’s pre-menopause. Oh sorry, TMI? I’ll save that for another post.)