A week ago, at 6:37 a.m., I watched my first-born child drive down and out of our driveway, U-Haul trailer in tow.
He turned East this time, not West. Not back to school, but forward to a new phase of his life. I am still, and will continue to be sad, worried, concerned, terrified…all those “motherly” things that moms feel when their children do things contrary to plan. Meaning, of course, MOM’s plan. The plan…PLAN A…was to include 4-6 years of higher education, in a field of study that, I thought, was particularly suited to my brilliant son’s strengths and talents. Something interesting and challenging and…difficult. Much like my son. Then, after graduation: travel. LOTS of travel, most likely in a career that requires LOTS of travel. Far-flung, exotic locales and off-the-map, end-of-the-earth places; all fascinating.
And, because he is a friendly, polite and good-natured young man, I knew he would acquire friends, acquaintances and contacts all over the world. Always a good thing. Furthermore, all of this interaction and travel and education would allow him many opportunities to explore the world, build wonderful things and great friendships, solve problems and answer questions not yet asked, have exciting experiences and create amazing memories, and, finally, make a name for himself while making a difference. But, now he is off on his own, without Mom’s map to follow. In fact, I’m pretty sure he tore up Mom’s map, tossed it out the window, then turned on his own GPS.
Enter PLAN B.
PLAN B calls for Mom to get over it.
She knows life is rarely a straight road. And, how boring if it was! Those curves, bumps and detours just make the journey more interesting. Those obstacles keep you sharp; make you think. A straight path makes you complacent; too predictable. It’s the unplanned side-trips that can add real excitement to any journey. Throughout the years, whenever my sons and I have gone on vacations or trips, we always seem to get ‘turned around” or “off the beaten path” at least once. Heck, there have been times when I couldn’t tell if we were headed up or down! (Yes, Colorado and Utah, I’m talkin’ to you.) But, it was O.K., because we were going places and seeing things we would not have experienced if we had followed the map too closely. When they were younger, and certain we were “lost”, I would roll my eyes and tell my sons, “We’re not lost. We’re exploring!” Well, PLAN B reminds me that Son #1 is not lost. He’s exploring.
I am certain, in his own way, in his own time, on his own path, he will explore the world, build wonderful things and great friendships, solve problems and answer questions not yet asked, have exciting experiences and create amazing memories, and, finally, make a name for himself while making a difference. After all, there is usually more than one road to any given destination.
And, I am equally sure, his journey will be interesting, challenging, difficult…and incredibly rewarding. Much like my son.