Poetry Friday: A Letter to My Mom

We find ourselves living in odd times. But, some rights of passage continue as though these cycles have a life of their own.  First-time college students are gearing up to move into their university communities and start a new life.  Yes, much of it will be different but some of it will be very much the same.  Likewise, other young adults are looking for jobs and trying to take advantage of opportunities when they present. It is too hard to be part of dampening the spirits of those who are young and enthusiastic about life.  I’m not advocating beach parties, motorcycle rallies, bar gatherings, or any other social activity that seems unnecessarily unsafe during this summer of COVID. I am talking about supporting our youth in finding their future. In some cases, this might only be done by traveling, regardless of the reason – college or a new job opportunity, away from home.  We cannot continue to put life on hold forever.

A recent opportunity presented itself to my son, a new high school graduate. Together, with us, he weighed the benefits and risks to this opportunity not only for himself but for others involved. The decision was made that he would take the necessary pandemic precautions but also take advantage of the opportunity because sometimes opportunity only knocks once.

These events inspired the following free-verse poem to my mom, who supported me in very much the same way when I was eighteen.

 

Dear Mom,

 

Today, I find myself in your shoes.

I just put my baby on a plane to the West Coast.

Alone.

He wanted to go.

He needed to go.

He had an opportunity to spread his wings.

And, fly.

 

Before he left, I had to remind myself

that I did the very same.

At the same age.

I got on a plane.

Alone.

And, flew to Japan!

 

Do you remember?

I am sure you do!

I was eighteen and naive.

He is eighteen and excited!

 

I know now that you were scared.

Sending me off to a land unknown,

With only one person there to pick me up,

care for me,

and send me home safely.

 

Much is the same for my boy

who is becoming a young man.

I know I am scared, just as you were.

But, I also know I had to let him go.

I knew that because you let me go,

almost 40 years ago.

 

You trusted in me.

You trusted in yourself.

You and Dad raised me well.

I made good decisions and

came home safe.

 

I have faith that this will be the case now.

Today, my baby spread his wings.

No longer in the nest but

a fledgling in the world of art.

 

Thank you for your love

and trust all those years ago.

My trip was not perfect, but

I learned so much.

I grew because you let me go.

 

And, now it is my turn to do the same.


Forever Grateful with Love,

Your Daughter

 

 

Today is Poetry Friday! Thank you to Laura Purdie Salas of Small Reads for Brighter Days for hosting the round-up this week!

14 Thoughts

  1. Typing this with tears in my eyes. Our younger daughter has lived overseas for almost 5 years (she’s 24). She’s been sheltering in place with us here since March, but soon, I expect she’ll get to return to her flat, her car, her life in another country. It will be hard to let her go. On the other hand, I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 16. We raised our daughters to be independent and are so proud of them! But still…Beautiful poem–thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s such a difficult time for college students. We’ve been wrestling (along with our youngest) about whether campus or virtual is best. The university made the decision this week to go 100% online. So many mixed feelings. As you say in your poem, it’s a time for them to spread their wings, yet so many find themselves stuck in the nest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I feel for all the college students this fall. It will be an odd experience despite whether they are online or in person. And, It is so hard for them to fly when the system imposes limits (even if they are temporary). I worry that the momentum for some will be lost. Thanks for your comments.

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  3. Carol, it’s wonderful that your son has the opportunity to travel and that all of you were able to decide together that he should go. Thank you for sharing your wonderful poem/letter as well–beautiful and so meaningful. When I was 17 I joined the military, and by the time I turned 30 I’d lived in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Okinawa, Korea, and Germany. I wish everyone could travel while they were (relatively) young. It truly does expand one’s worldview.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve had wonderful, diverse life experience. I agree that it is important to visit other places whether in our own country or overseas. It does broaden one’s perspective. There’s so much to be learned from other places if we are willing to take it in. Even today, I enjoy this aspect of travelling.

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      1. I don’t do a lot of traveling anymore, other than to visit family. In many ways, I hope to see that change within the next few years, but in others I enjoy my life at home with the gardens and the animals.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My husband and I just took our first trip without kids in February – to Santa Fe. It was great. We were hoping to do more this year but then – you know – the pandemic hit. Eventually, we’ll get to some places we want to go overseas but have been talking about getting a small teardrop camper to do some National Park visits. It’ll balance some other more extravagant trips like Scotland/Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and back to Hawaii. Like you, however, we do enjoy being home and tending our yard.

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  4. *tears*

    I should have thanked my parents more for all the opportunities they gave me and my brother…and now I don’t have the chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry. I agree, however. I am going to send my poem to my mom. She typically does not read my blog but I do want her to know I am very grateful and was glad I had the experience to drawn upon in making my own decision.

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