Aug 18, 2011
Last year I pulled out my father-in-laws old WWII binoculars deciding that I wanted to bird watch from our back sliding glass doors. My family laughed at me and said that I had become obsessed with watching every bird’s move in our backyard. Maybe it was a little odd and a bit overkill sitting on our couch looking through a huge pair of very intense WWII binocs onto our small cozy patio. It was as though I had the birds under a microscope. Lately, I’ve realized that this is what I have been doing with our three boys.
Four years ago we gave the last one wings as he left for college. Shortly after he took flight, I became an obsessed bird watcher with very high resolution binoculars in order to see and know our three boy’s every move….were they safe, what if they needed to talk with me about a problem, what if they make a wrong decision, is their heart being broken? What happened to the graduation speech my husband and I gave to each of them about being so proud to give them wings and let them fly on their own.
Recently, I pulled out my binoculars on high alert. Our youngest was hanging off the wall of El Capitan in Yosemite on a four day climb. I knew we could not reach him and if something happened no one else could either, at least not easily. I decided I needed to call the other two boys and make sure they were safe and well. Don’t ask me why, maybe this is the way a mother thinks; but feeling like my other two were safe and sound might make me feel a lot better. I couldn’t reach my oldest. I called and left a message, I emailed and left a nice note, I sent a text and no message came back. In fact, for days, no message back. I finally facebooked his girlfriend (final resort) and a sweet message came back, but I’m sure she thought I was an absolutely obsessive mother.
The next day he called and said, “mom, I’m in the middle of exams and work has been brutal”. You’re seeming in a panic because you can’t reach me. I’m not angry but I am 26 years old and have a busy life. Sometimes I can’t return your message immediately.”
At that moment my husband grabbed the high resolution binoculars out of my hands and he sat me down for a talk. He reminded me that I am the mom of three men now (not 3 boys) and I must continue to let go and let them live their own lives. Why is this so hard? Rebooting relationships with our children after they leave home is not always easy but so, so important in order for us to have a healthy relationship with them.
(By the way, I just recently read that Audobon has come out with a “Bird Cam”…..hmmm, that’s a thought)