published : 2023-08-22

A Tearful Joy: A Mother's Journey through Raising Her Sons

From Motherhood to Mentorship: The Transition of Letting Go as Her Son Embarks on His Collegiate Journey

A touching image of a mother and son sharing a moment. They're in a living room, with the mother playfully ruffling her son's hair as they both laugh. Their bond is palpable and the atmosphere is light-hearted, echoing the joy and sorrow of growing up. This image is taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

I believed I was prepared for the fateful day, the day my firstborn son would start his journey to higher education. I tried to cushion the impending emptiness with a collection of kisses. Our little ritual, started during his senior year, of an extra peck on the forehead or cheek before he dashed off to school or practice, became an attempt to store up these precious interactions for the days to come. On some level, I thought these tokens of love would be enough when he was far away.

My son's readiness to embrace this new chapter gave me hope. Watching the boy you gave life to stand on the precipice of his future, equipped with a wisdom beyond years and a grounding from his roots, offers a strange kind of satisfaction. He was ready.

Despite this readiness, saying goodbye took a toll. His absence was felt immediately, my face drenched in tears, as his dorm room door closed behind us. The pride of his achievement was intertwined with a mother's heartache.

The intense whirlpool of emotions is hard to describe. Excitement for his future, grief for his absence, the joy of his growth, the loss of his daily presence, the pain of missing him, the pride in his ambition, and a surreal peace co-existing with a longing for more time, all converged, making me feel both perfectly fine and completely shattered.

A poignant portrait of a young man, standing tall with an Auburn University banner in the background. His eyes are filled with a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension as he embarks on his new life journey. The photo captures the transition from adolescence to adulthood and symbolizes the progression of the narrative. Taken with a Nikon D850.

Finding solace in the institution he chose, we saw him officially become an Auburn man, marking his journey with pride and a streak of melancholy. I realized then, it was the mundane, everyday interactions I would miss the most, the banality of his presence that was threaded with love.

The text messages about dinner plans, updates about his day, the relief of seeing his car in the driveway marking his safe return home, the nightly 'I love you mama' as I retired for the night, I would miss them all. This loss coexisted with my anticipation of seeing his upcoming strides in life.

Experience told me that being a mother of five boys, I knew what it meant to 'leave it all on the field.' My life as a mother wasn’t perfect, filled with both fumbles and touchdowns. But the game of parenting, like life, is not about perfection. It's about committing fully, learning from mistakes, making amends, and moving forward.

Besides, God's role in my son's life overpowers my own. Whatever right or wrong I did does not determine his future. But that doesn’t mean my role is insignificant. I nevertheless played a crucial part in molding him, and it's this belief that fuels my journey as a parent.

An inspiring photograph of a crowd cheering at a sports event, focusing on one figure, presumably a mother, clapping and cheering with tears in her eyes. It represents the metaphor of 'leaving it all on the field' - the commitment, love, and unwavering support parents provide their children. This image was taken with a Sony A7 III.

So, on this bittersweet journey, I remind myself to not ruminate on the 'could haves' and 'should haves'. I hold onto the belief of leaving it all on the field as my son grows, succeeds, struggles, and learns. And trust God to lead my son into his new chapter.

Letting go gets easier with time, say veteran mothers. The relationship matures, the bond strengthens, giving me a glimmer of hope. As I cheer on my sons, old and young, from the sidelines, my eyes might be riddled with tears, but my heart brims with joy and hope. This, I believe, is what it feels like to have 'left it all on the field.'