Goodbyes are hard. I dread some goodbyes even when I know it is for the best. As a writer, I say sayonara to my characters and I send them out into the world knowing they will take on a life of their own. I can do the same as a mother, but it is infinitely more painful. After all, I can revise a character, plan their plot twists for them, and predict everything they'll do. I can even write them happily ever afters.
Not so with children.
Kids grow up and become autonomous - how rude! They make choices independent of my plans for them. They have adventures that I, who nurtured them, could never have foreseen, let alone some I am not invited to join. They travel to distant lands, develop their own interests, meet the world on their own terms. Sometimes they screw up and I can't write them out of it. And, sometimes they succeed brilliantly through no help of mine.
As my son leaves to study abroad, I am forced to admit - to myself, mostly - that it is time to let go. As my daughters gracefully disagree with me on matters beyond my control, I realize I have done all that I can. If love is about giving, then I am preparing to love my children more than ever as I give them what was always their birthright; their independence. It's a gift that costs more than they will ever know...
...at least... until they have kids of their own.
Safe travels, my dear ones - by air, over land, and through life. My love goes with you, always.