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Jewish Journal

Motherhood 101: College Makes Me Cry

by Ilana Angel

September 11, 2013 | 9:58 pm

Ever since my son started the process of applying to colleges I have been crying. I am overcome with pride and fear at the same time. He is a remarkable human being and my entire heart is wrapped up in him and so the thought that we have arrived to this place, when I feel like I just had him, is something I cannot understand.  College is a beginning and an ending.

It is the beginning of an adventure for him as he becomes an adult and carves out the path he wants his future to take.  It is the end of the life we have been living together for almost 18 years. I am very ready for his beginning, as I have been preparing him for it since he was born.  I am not ready for the life we have to change and so I cry. A lot.

Tonight my son was Face Timing with a friend of his who just went away to college on the east coast.  They have been friends for a long time and I am a fan of this girl.  She is smart and funny and has beautiful manners and a kind heart. She is very close to my son and they went from talking everyday for hours, to less now that she is away at school.  He misses her.

I miss her too. She is one of those kids that I never had to worry about. If my son was talking to her, it was cool.  If they were out together, it was cool. I adore this girl and have not spoken to her since she left for school a few weeks ago.  Tonight when they were Face Timing we had a chance to talk and it was great to see her.  As soon as we were done, I started to cry.

This lovely young girl looked all grown up.  I’m sure it was all in my head, but seeing her away at school, across the country, by herself, made me see her differently.  She looked like a woman not a child. That didn’t make me cry, but when I thought about how she looked I jumped to how I will see my son when he is away as school, and that made me cry.  He is my baby.

I got married when I was 25 and after years of infertility treatments, I had my son when I was 30, and I was divorced by the time I was 31.  I went to work when my son was 3 months old and managed to put him through ten years of private school with no financial assistance from his father. He gives me everything I need, so I gave him everything he needs.

I have cried for no apparent reason everyday for the past week and am proud of the fact that my son has not seen it.  The truth is that the tears are from a place of joy and pride, so it would not be a big deal if he saw it.  I just figure that it is only September and the college application process with take a while so I will delay his seeing me bawl for as long as I can.

I don’t know how to live without this child with me and I am a little scared about how I will manage. In the end I will be fine because my pride will outweigh my sadness.  I will learn to live life differently, just as he will, and eventually I will stop crying. By eventually of course I mean in about 4 years. Until then I will buy lots of Kleenex and keep the faith.

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