mom's voice in your head

Fledglings and Their Moms

I’m kind of a mess. Nick leaves for college tomorrow. All week, I’ve been a mess. I keep thinking I won’t know what to do with myself after he leaves, but I have a lot to do.

I will resist the urge to write my list of everything I’ve procrastinated the last three months for you.

You might feel like you’re looking in my purse at that little notebook I keep in there if I write out my list for you. Every morning, that stupid list comes up in my mind. I swear that it’s my mother in my head, always giving me a list of stuff to do that I would never be able to finish.

Do you have your parents in your head too?

Will Nick’s mom-voice nag him to keep his room clean and communicate with his roommate for the things that he needs?

I hope so.

Wait. I don’t know how I feel about that voice always being in Nick’s head, making him feel less than what he should have been in the first place. But then, maybe he needs to hear that voice ringing through his thoughts so that he steps up.

I don’t know.

Our relationship will be different the first time he comes home for a break. He will manage his own stuff, right? Or will he revert to the kid who asked for help before trying himself? I don’t know what to expect.

We celebrated his birthday last night. I think he may have been disappointed in his present. I’m not sure.

He wanted ferrofluid. What came in the mail was smaller than what we all expected.

Maybe we were all disappointed about his birthday anyway. It was hard to celebrate because it was early. It was hard to celebrate because we were all so busy getting ready. It was hard to celebrate Nick’s birthday because we are in the midst of this great change in all of our lives and not one of us feels ready.

Mike finished changing the head gaskets in Nick’s car and buttoned it up last night. He survived the test drive. That was a huge job. Huge. And I finished the quilt I wanted Nick to sleep under at school. That felt like a huge job too. There was a point as I put on the binding when I made one mistake after another, stupid mistakes. It felt like my subconscious asking: If I don’t finish the quilt maybe he doesn’t have to leave.

It’s normal and healthy for chicks to leave the nest. I wonder if bird moms have this same heartache as they escort their newly fledged children around the yard where they are so susceptible to hunters. I wonder how they feel after their babies fly away from them. Do they have the urge to chase after them to tell them, again and again, how to stay safe out in the wild, wild world?

I picture a bird mom chasing after her reluctant, newly independent fledgling and telling him to stay safe, fly straight, and communicate with his friends. Is she a mess after he leaves?

I’m a mess. I’ll be more of a mess in two days when my boy is safely ensconced in his dorm room with his car parked nearby and his quilt on his bed. I will be that embarrassing mom with tears in her eyes as she meets his new roommate, the one who runs out to Target and comes back with more stuff that he’s so obviously going to need. Obvious to me, anyway. I’ll be that embarrassing mom who holds on too long during our last hug. I’ll be the one who cries too long on the drive home.

I know Nick’s not dying. He’s just leaving for college.

But I’m a mess.

Thank you for listening, jules