Let me start by warning you you’re in the splash zone. If you’re reading this, you are in jeopardy of being splashed by my tears that are hitting my keyboard or the page. Any mom will understand my plight. It’s graduation time. And for the first time ever, I have a son who is graduating high school. In the fall, he leaves for college. Insert shuddering breath and eye-roll here. So you know what that means. Not only am I hormonal because of perimenopause, I’m also beginning to deal with the grief associated with a child leaving the nest. But I’ve been trying to push those emotions aside, to ignore them for a little while longer. I have a whole summer, right?
Then, the other night, I was minding my own business watching the American Idol finale and on popped a commercial from Google and by the end of it I was sobbing. I’m sure this will have little impact on most of the rest of the world, except moms and possibly some dads who can identify with this huge milestone. Here’s the Google Graduation Commercial link. See for yourself. The writers get this one right.
So why do moments like this hit us so hard? I find it happens when I’m reading a good book, too. It’s because a writer is adept at tapping into a universal emotion that I can identify with, that I get to my core. And that’s when I’m moved to laugh or cry. It’s those moments when I dig deep that I connect with humanity and I begin to understand what it means to be human in a crazy topsy turvey world that can often leave me breathless because of its pace and demands.
It’s moments like this one that, as writers, we want to tap into to move our readers and to connect with them. To help them understand the depths of love and grief, joy and disappointment, achievement and defeat. Or whatever other emotion is hitting close to home for our characters and the stories we’re trying to tell.
I have a long summer ahead of me. Have I figured out how to let my son go? To let him fly, the way he wants to, the way he needs to? No. I haven’t. All I know is I’m going to be present in every moment. Enjoy it. Experience it fully. Whatever it brings. I’ll walk with him, take one step at a time, while I enjoy the time with him, build memories, and let him know how very cherished and loved he is before he goes away from home. Because it’s those memories and thoughts, those life-lessons we learned together over the past eighteen years, that will help him continue to fly toward the bright future that’s calling him.
Will it be easy? No, I have no illusion that it will be easy for me. I’ve nurtured this boy for eighteen years. But I will put one foot in front of the other and I will be courageous as I watch him soar. And, I will know that this milestone, like the many others before and after, is a marker that connects me to millions of other people in the world. And that alone is a comfort.
I’d love to hear how you handled letting your first son or daughter fly from the nest! Comment to win a chance at a free copy of Essence (now out in e-Book, print, and audio). Two people will win a copy. Comments must be posted here sometime before May 30th, to be eligible.
Mackenzie Lucas writes contemporary romance for Soul Mate Publishing. Her debut contemporary, Essence, came out in January. And her next contemporary romance with Soul Mate Publishing, Courting Cinderella, will be out in August. Find her at www.mackenzielucas.com. She’s on Facebook and Twitter.