Letting You Go, Again

This is a short essay on the event of my son moving out of state. Let me know if this resonates with you.

It is strange to be writing this meditation on your leaving home in your old bedroom, on your bed that I replaced with a different comforter when you took your old one to your new apartment in a new state. The Legos are still on the shelves and the electric guitar with the broken string sits in the corner of the room, like always. I expect you to call “Mom!” from the kitchen, bound up the stairs two steps at a time, and rush through the door with your hand in a box of Triscuits. But that doesn’t happen, nor will it ever again. My old mom self would be crying now for the loss of childhood, as I did when I dropped you off at college. But something has changed. And I think I know just what it is.

son on trail

When you told us that you wanted to leave California after graduating from college and find a job in another state, I was shocked. I thought since you decided to stay near home for college,  you would work here too. Instead, you said you wanted to leave the traffic, the crowds, the high cost of living. You researched and found an affordable city with a growing economy surrounded by stunning mountains and plenty of outdoor activities. I said “Are you sure?” hoping you would change your mind. But when you said yes, I could feel my eyes tear up and my body grow limp, even as I tried to smile to show support. I thought I only had to let you go once when you went to college. But that was only for four years, and this seemed like it could be forever.

You found an apartment after visiting the new city and arranged all the moving details on your own. You rented a U-Haul to hitch to the used truck that you insisted we buy you for graduation. You packed the U-Haul with our old couch, some furniture from your apartment in college, kitchenware, and clothes. If I had known you would be driving away from me and your childhood home, I probably would have thought twice about buying you that truck. You asked us to drive out with you in another car to help you settle into your new place, which I looked forward to. You insisted that we not follow the U-Haul right behind. I laughed that you still didn’t want to be seen with us. I was just happy to be driving behind you, sight unseen.

I remember moving to New York after graduating from college on the East Coast when I was 21. I was excited to be setting off on my first real adventure as an adult, earning a salary (albeit barely livable) and being on my own. The whole world seemed open to me, and I embraced my new life with open arms. Now you are starting your first full-time job and thriving while living by yourself. Your whole life is ahead of you, as it once was for me.

You are no longer the shy, young boy I once knew. You are now a mature, responsible, and independent young adult. I am comforted knowing this is exactly where you should be and what you should be doing. The person who has changed the most is YOU. And as a result, I have too.

I don’t break down anymore when you and your sister leave home for long periods of time (thank goodness). I know now that you will leave home, come back, and venture out again, and that’s okay. I have learned that separation is normal, and I shouldn’t feel so sad each time. I realize I too had to move away and work on the East Coast to become an adult, and I understand you do too.


In the meantime, I decided to convert your old bedroom into my writing studio to make up for the emptiness. I’m making lots of progress on my novel, using your old desk to write and arranging my books on your bookshelf next to your Legos. Daisy lays next to me to keep me company, as I know she did with you. As you can see, you’re never that far away in my heart, and I will never be able to let go completely!

Thank you to all my readers for following me on my journey as a parent and a writer. I will be part of an author’s panel at the PV Peninsula Women’s Breakfast on October 5th. If you are interested in hearing about the writing process from myself and other local authors, let me know and I will send you more information.

Please comment on the blog and let me know what it was like when you or your child started working full-time, where it was, and what it was like.

Enjoy your summer!

2019-07-16T23:28:40-07:00July 12th, 2019|Family|

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  1. Stephanie July 12, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    What a truly beautiful essay. Thank you so much for sharing. My kids are not quite to the working stage – still in college and high school, but I know that we’ll be there in the blink of an eye.

    • Rosa July 12, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      So wonderful to read your comment Stephanie. The time will come before you know it and it will be truly bittersweet. Thanks for reading. Love the photo you took of me! I like using it as my updated featured photo!

  2. Barbara July 12, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    I love that you elude to the full range of emotions experienced to get to this point but chose not to dwell on that journey and instead focused on your realization of what your son is navigating by remembering your own experiences traveling down the same path.

    My oldest is now a few years out of grad school and chose to remain local. She made it clear as a Sophomore in high school that she liked living in our community and intended to do so after she finished school. I figured that would most likely change and didn’t lay to much stock in her declaration at the time. As things turned out, her resolve galvanized and today her house is not far from ours.

    My youngest is still in college so there’s alway a possibility I may experience what you are now going through. But I don’t want to get ahead of things.

    I’m very interested in the October 5th event. Please send me additional details. Thanks!

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 4:09 am

      Barbara I would be happy to forward you the breakfast invite when I get it. Please put the date on your calendar! You completely understood the intent of my piece to focus on my son’s journey so thank you for that. You’re lucky to have your daughter close by and maybe your son too. See you soon!

  3. jeri July 13, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Rosa, I can totally relate, and you said it beautifully. I don’t know if it ever gets easier (my children are much older), and my daughter laughs when I still get teary eyed EVERY time she leaves again. The visits never seems to be long enough. I love that you are writing in your son’s room and keeping him close. Enjoy!

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 4:11 am

      What you cry EVERY time? I believe it :). Thanks for always reading and for sharing your words of wisdom.

  4. Mary Jo Hazard July 13, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Rosa, as always your writing is so relatable and touching. Anyone who has children who have left the nest to strike out on their own will be teary eyed reading this. Your son and daughter are so lucky to have you for a mom, and I’m lucky to have you for a friend. 💕

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 4:12 am

      I’m so lucky to have you for a friend too Mary Jo! Thank you!!

  5. Tara July 13, 2019 at 2:09 am

    Rosa you made me tear up and touched my heart. We are all going through it. It’s hard to see them go but it’s time to let them fly.
    Love the way you wrote this story. I felt I was driving with you guys and not too close to the U Hall😘

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 4:15 am

      So glad we are on this parenting journey together and I loved that you felt like you were on a road trip with us too!! You’re right, don’t get too close :).

  6. Carol July 13, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Rosa, your writing and willingness to express truth with transparency and authenticity is a gift to me and all the other mamas whose hearts are walking around out there exquisitely vulnerable inside the lives of our adult children. It’s a beautiful and wildly adventurous journey. Thank you for offering your gift which encourages and connects us. I am blessed to have you in my life.

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 4:24 am

      Carol, thank you so much for your generous words. You are always so encouraging and I feel blessed to have you in my life too. I look forward to this next phase of our lives while our young adults take flight!

  7. Bettina July 13, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Beautifully written. I so enjoy reading what you write. You are very talented and I look forward to reading your first novel hopefully in the near future.

  8. Rosa July 13, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Many thanks Bettina for your ongoing support and being such a fan. I too hope that I finish my book soon!!

  9. Julie Brown July 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Oh, Rosa, your feelings and heartache are so familiar. Although we know our children must forge ahead with their lives, every time they move forward a tiny piece of our hearts goes with them. As my father always says, parents must provide their children with “roots and wings”. When they have the confidence and curiosity to pursue their dreams, we know we’ve done our job.
    Looking forward to our panel on October 5th!!

    • Rosa July 13, 2019 at 10:50 pm

      Your dad is so right! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I’m looking forward to our panel too. Hope to see you before then!

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