Letting Go as Teenagers Become Independent is Hard

I told myself I wouldn’t cry.

My worried mama heart had other plans. I quickly looked away so my son wouldn’t see me as I wiped away my tears. He needed to feel my confidence, not my concerns. He needed to feel that I believed in him, that I believed that everything was going to work out okay.”

Don’t let him see your tears this time. You’re gonna be okay. He’s gonna be okay. It’s gonna be okay. Think of a happy thought.” Okay. Back to slightly more grounded. Moving forward.

I told myself I wouldn’t cry again…
but my now weary, tired mama heart had other plans. We had worked through as many scenarios as possible, but no one thought of this one.

Panic started to come in and pushed the tears out. I stayed calm. I turned my back to my son once more and called to him to keep walking with me, forward, together, as I discreetly wiped away my tears.

“He needs your strength and problem solving.” I said to myself.

“He needs your determination and calm. You got this. You’re going to be okay. He is going to be okay. It will be okay.”

“Mom, it’s okay. I’ll be okay” He said to me in a shaky, nervous voice as he walked next to me. I am sure he was also saying to himself, “You got this. You will be okay. It will be okay. Be strong. Be calm. Keep it together.” Maybe he wasn’t. But I bet he was.

“We will find a way, I promise. Not giving up yet, k? And we aren’t going to worry until we need to and I know you’ll be fine if we don’t get the answer we want.” I said to him.

I scanned the area for a loving, helpful, friendly face. Spotted! She had the coolest glasses. The warmest smile. And a mom vibe. “Come on,” I said to my son. “I see someone who looks like a loving mom who will understand. Let’s see if she’ll help.”

“Hi…” I started to talk, my voice trembling, tears forming. I explained the situation and somehow through my mumbling she understood. She didn’t hesitate. She reached out her hand, and gestured,

“Don’t worry, I got you. Come on.” And she did. She had us both.

I told myself I wouldn’t cry but here I am in Newark Airport crying again…this time not out of worry but joy and pure gratitude. I would have hugged this TSA agent if I could have.

You see this was the first time any of my kids is flying solo to visit go somewhere. I’ve been a mess. It’s a milestone. An important one on so many levels. One of growth, one of letting go literally and figuratively…for me and for my son.

We both have anxiety (I share that with permission.) He was totally ready to do this but he still wanted me to go to the gate with him. I was obviously happy to oblige He had TSA pre-check and I didn’t. He doesn’t like crowded lines (me neither buddy, me neither) or running late and the regular line was loooong. Standing in that line was just gonna add to the unspoken building anxiety that morning. This was the third unexpected mishap in fifteen minutes. Thank goodness for this wonderful TSA agent that took care of us. And here I am crying again as I sit here, on the other side of security, waiting for him to board.

I’ve been holding in my emotions for weeks and still haven’t fully exhaled. Waiting to. I’ll exhale a little at 11:00 when he lands and fully when he lands back in Newark.

Until then, I sit here with my son answering his questions and what if’s, that are helping to soothe his anxiety (and consequently, mine.) In between the questions I remind myself how proud I am of him, how far he has come and how he WILL be okay. How, lol, I can finally relax a bit after he lands successfully later today!

* * * * *

He has boarded the plane. I knew I wouldn’t get a hug goodbye – that would be too hard. He was focused on staying calm and not showing his nerves. I get it. Been there done that couple hours earlier. He walked on the jetway and the tears started. Didn’t want to be a bawling mess so I quickly turned to find a place to be in private while I waited for his flight to take off.

The Orange Rhino SunriseAs I turned I noticed the most beautiful, perfectly timed sight. The sunrise. How appropriate.

A NEW DAY, a new phase of my son’s life has begun. It too is beautiful.

I walked over to the other side of the terminal and watched the sun slowly rise. Hesitant, but strong. Like my son. I soaked in the beauty, the glow, the energy, the peace. The promise of a new day and good things to come.

* * * * *

I wrote this yesterday. He has landed. And today is another new day with good things to come.

Sending warmth and strength to you all today and always,

The Orange Rhino®


Another popular Teen Post? 
How to Not Yell at Teenagers, According to My Teen!

Get *almost* daily stories at The Orange Rhino Facebook page about my life with my four teenagers and my journey to discover what keeps me in a goodish place, even when life is challenging and charging at me, so that I can love my life and time with my kids as much as possible.


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