Sunday, January 4, 2009
Today is officially the last day of Christmas break. Even we homeschoolers will be back to work in the schoolroom tomorrow. Superman returns to work after such much needed vacation which he, unfortunately, spent shoveling, shoveling, and then, shoveling again! I didn't get most of the things done that I had planned to get done, but somehow, being housebound was a psychological drain, even as we had everything we needed. It's all good, though, and I'm excited for Monday morning.
Prince Charming headed back to the dorms today and I sent him off with bittersweet feelings in my heart. I was sad to see him leave, but I am exhausted by the dance we've been doing.
For you see, Charming was born with the wind at his back, or winged shoes like Hermes...he's been in a hurry to leave from the moment he was born. He started walking before he was nine months old and he's been leaving ever since. Raising him has stretched me and strengthened me in ways I would never have imagined, had you asked me almost 18 years ago. The responsibility is immense and humbling and a privilege, as I was allowed to guide this already formed individual to adulthood. But this man-child, more than my other children, has never let me forget that he is only on loan to me, and that he sometimes resents the time he is bound to earth, as it were. In this, he's taught me to let go rather than smother. He must fall, or he'll never learn to get back up. He must be allowed to fail, so he'll learn how to try again. He must be challenged, so he'll learn to triumph. Finally, he must be allowed to go it alone, so he learns that it is not weakness to hold hands. (Believing these things, however, doesn't make it easy to deal with a man-child you sometimes have difficulty recognizing as your sweet baby boy.)
So it was that his time home from the dorms was difficult for us all, as he found family life uncomfortable, like a favorite sweater that doesn't fit quite the same way and doesn't feel quite the same way and doesn't make you feel quite the same way when you wear it. You hold on to the sweater longer than you should because you loved wearing it, but, eventually, you recognize it is time for a change. That is how I view our evolving relationship with Charming. He's done being a child in our household, but he hasn't embraced being an adult member of the family. And, when he acts like one of the kids, we're all too comfortable to respond in kind, but that isn't right, either. He's pulling and tugging and stretching, trying to make an old role fit. All the while, it is an effort in vain...for he has, in fact, grown up. It is just that simple. Now we all need to stake out new patterns, new roles, even as we treasure the old ones.
So, even as I remember my baby boy with tears in my eyes, if I did my job right, he's reveling again in the opportunity to spread his wings.