Over the last few weeks we have been gearing up to losing our first born to the big wide world. D Day is almost upon us and I fear I have not really got my head around the idea that tomorrow we will be at Auckland airport waving Lachlan goodbye. People keep saying to me how hard it is and how I must be feeling empty at the thought of him going. I am feeling a little bewildered that I am not feeling those things! Maybe I have just been so busy to have time to think, or maybe I have not been allowing myself to think as a self-preservation/defence mechanism? Maybe it will hit me like a great big slam-dunk tomorrow when the actual parting happens, or a week or two down the track when the hole he leaves becomes more apparent? (will I miss the trail of detritus he leaves in his wake…the wet towels in the bathroom, the kitchen cupboard doors left open following a hungry boy’s search for food, the lights left on at night, the empty beer bottles and coke cans, the chocolate wrappers and the week old mouldy cups of half drunk tea in his bedroom?!)
I will miss his sense of humour, the small gestures of care and love that an embarassed 18 yr old tries to hide,(like when he bought me a little elephant back from a trip to Raglan with his mates) the snatched moments of real conversation and closeness that sadly haven’t happened as much as any of us would like given the demands of work, study and sporting commitments, and Kate, his girlfriend! I seem to remember at a similar age preferring to spend time with the love of my life rather then with my parents! But, I ask you, who at that age wouldn’t?
We have just had a lovely evening all together along with Kate out at Raglan. A splash in the ocean – once he decided it wasn’t too “uncool” to let himself go and have a swim, followed by fish and chips at the wharf. The slightly incongruous bonus of a live band at a fish and chip shop added to the experience.
We think that he is ready to break out of the coccoon of home and it is time for him to find his place in the world? I think, I know, that he is perfectly capable of fending for himself. Yes, he is young, only eighteen, but he can cook, wash his clothes, he knows his way around airports, bus stations, booking into hostels and he communicates well with people (other than his parents who are the recipients of grunts and mumbles!). He is also fairly sensible on the whole given his age and experience and has a healthy respect for danger; he has an open outlook on life and is up for a challenge.
We do worry about outside influences that may lead him into doing stuff that may be risky or dangerous, we worry that in a desire to fit in he might do something against his better judgement, we worry that without the structure of home he may fall prey to a lifestyle that is not “good”. However, we also know that we have to let him go and find out all those things for himself.
We have never (I hope) been over-protective parents; we have provided opportunities for risk-taking, challenge, exploration, opportunities for our boys to test themselves, their skills and their courage. But we have always been close at hand to catch them when /if they fall. Canada is a long way away – who will be there to catch my baby if he falls? But he won’t. We have faith in him, in his capability to look after himself, to do what is right for him.
Our baby is ready to fly the nest. He is all growed up.