Weeping in the Subway Line

A SUBWAY in a Walmart Location.
Image via Wikipedia

“There is a lady in front of me at Subway who is crying  hysterically because this is her last meal with her daughter.  Awwww…”

Charlie texted this “lovely” yesterday.

Evidently, freshmen have arrived at Boston University and parents are saying their goodbyes. Charlie (our son) spent the summer on campus, so is witnessing it coming back to life.  Freshmen often arrive first, so sobbing mothers staggering through the streets of Boston, a town that harbors 60+ colleges, is surely a common sight each August.

To bring this closer to home, much closer to home…

10 days.  That is all we have with our youngest, Emily, before she leaves for her freshman year at St Olaf College.  As I eyeball the last page of this chapter–these final days of her at home–emotions flood, grief descends.  The day I looked forward to when she and her brother were little, when I was overtaken with their needs and just wanted a corner for myself, is here.  In the years since then, though, I’ve learned much about sacrifice, about setting “me” and “my corner” aside and focusing on their needs and what God wants me to be as a mother.  Never perfect or even great (for years Rich and the kids called me “Mad Mom”), yet God was faithful–He formed two independent, beautiful spirits who love and seek Him.  I’m in awe of His handiwork.

It is funny.  I finally “got it”, this mothering thing, this sacrificing for the well-being of one’s kids, yet I have to let it go, for they need me to stop so they can begin the adult journey of relying on God.  Yep, it is funny…once again, I have to give up something for their sake…

10 days.  The shopping is done, mostly.  The list is made, mostly.  The packing is about to begin.  I cannot stop it, nor do I want to.  It is as it should be, yet sometimes I wish I could go back and revisit moments, fleeting moments when they were little and laughing, when they’d run around the house just to run around the house, when talking on the cordless phone while climbing a tree was “normal”, when sweet kisses goodnight on chubby children’s cheeks warmed me from inside out (tears stream, I can barely see the screen…)  No…I cannot go back, those moments are gone.  All I have are these moments.  I must not miss these moments, even the bittersweet ones of saying “goodbye” to Emily and her childhood and “hello” to a new relationship with her as an adult.  She is ready for this, which is good, which makes it easier.  I’m not sure I’m ready, though.  Like Hide and Seek’s, “ready or not, here I come” time is up and I’m still looking for a place…

10 days.  In ten days I’ll watch her step into life without me nearby…in ten days my life shifts significantly.  No “Mom” ringing through our home.  No family meals to serve.  No silly girl talk in the bathroom.  No hugs goodnight or teenage friends dropping in.  Can I do this?  Can I finish this chapter and begin the next…even if it means grief?  Even if the pages are wet with tears, the ink is blurry and I can’t read a thing?

God, please help me…please help all mothers weeping in the Subway line…


6 thoughts on “Weeping in the Subway Line

    1. Kate,

      Well, small world! Have her look Em up–Em is a music ed major, emphasis on flute (she’ll be busy, busy in the flute dept). Is your student pursuing music and/or flute?


  1. This made ME cry and I still have 5 years before I HAVE to let go!!!! I keep telling my husband we still have time for one more! just one more!!!! :)

    Boston and St Olaf…. great places to visit once or twice, right?


  2. Oh Cindy,

    Enjoy this time, 5 years goes quick. One more?! Well, all the more power to ya :)

    Yes, Boston is lovely and St Olaf is just an hour away, so…yes, need to carve out visiting time…


  3. Thanks for sharing from your heart Jodi! I had lunch with Zach today and found myself with tears in my eyes as I walked to my van and I am not even his Mom. You must be so proud, Emily and Charlie are amazing young adults; way to go Mom, Dad and God! Hugs to you my friend.


  4. Julie, thanks! You and your loving heart are a big reason they’re such terrific young adults! Thanks for being there and caring…God speed to Zach. I’m glad you were able to connect before he left…


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