Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Do You Suffer From FEELHAPERG?

On Friday, my husband, daughters and I moved my son into his college dorm. On Sunday, we said our goodbyes and walked away. I have been preparing for this day since the moment he was born, or at least I thought I was. But, no matter how much you prepare yourself for that day when you say your last goodbye and part ways, it will be emotional beyond what you ever imagined possible.

Sadness is not what I feel, although my tears may have indicated as such. I am not sad that he is leaving the nest and going on without me. Just like a momma bird, pushing her fledgling out of the nest and hoping it doesn't fall, I too, hope for that same result. My husband and I have nurtured him for eighteen years with as much love, attention and education as we were able to provide. We  have hopefully armed him with compassion, strong morals and values, a great sense of self-worth, a keen desire to absorb and devour an education not offered to all and, of course, survival skills when life becomes challenging. All of those things create the wings from which to fly.

But what is it that I feel? It's all so confusing and new. If I think of my emotions as colors, each one has an assigned color. Sadness would probably be blue, happy would be yellow, angry would be red, proud would be purple, and so on. Most often, I can associate with just one emotion or color, but now, I have so many emotions, that they all spilled and mixed and created a new color. It's a mix of pride, fear, happiness, envy, excitement, relief, eagerness, gratitude, amazement, and Love.

PRIDE: When a child completes certain milestones it's only natural to be proud of his/her accomplishments. I was so proud of my son when he crossed the stage and received his diploma. While we had some hiccups along his school journey, he persevered and made it. His struggles made the walk across the stage mean so much more than just getting a diploma, it meant he (we) survived the uphill marathon that ADD can create and we all came out fairly unscathed. Then came the college acceptance letters - schools that wanted our son to be a part of what they offered. He had a few choices but knew exactly where he needed to be. I am so proud of his hard work, for the young man he has become and for his choice of college. My heart swells with pride.

FEAR: Did I do enough? Teach him enough? Prepare him enough? Love him enough? Was there something I missed that could cause him to fail? Will he be safe? Will he make bad decisions? All these questions keep a sense of fear within me. Bad things can happen while away from my protective care, yes. And I can tell myself that he will be fine, but there will always be a feeling of fear because I am not there to protect him.

HAPPINESS: How can I not be happy for him?! He's going off to college! I am truly happy for him.

EXCITEMENT: I am also excited for him. A new chapter in his life has just begun. There are so many possibilities to explore, so many choices to make, so many new people to meet and forge friendships with. He's also moving to a completely different climate with actual weather that includes snow and rain!

ENVY: After strolling on his campus, I began to get a little envious of him. I loved college, and being on campus brought me back to those carefree days full of activities, people, camaraderie, and a sense of community and school spirit. Just being on campus put a little extra pep in my step with all its energy. I said more than once, how nice it would be to go back in time and experience some of my college days again.

RELIEF: Yes, I am relieved he's away at college. I don't think I could handle having him at home while taking college courses. I would feel as though I would need to micromanage him, and that would create a negative experience in our home and at school. He needs to take control of his education now. Other than paying for it, his education is completely in his hands and now I only have to micromanage two kids instead of three!

EAGERNESS: I am eager to see how he does away from home. I can only assume he will do great things. I can't wait to hear his excitement about people he has met, interesting classes he is taking and fun groups he joins. I am eager to see him shine and succeed and to grow into a self-sufficient, well rounded, educated man.

GRATITUDE: There is so much to be grateful for, and I owe it all to the Big Guy upstairs, God. I was given the gift to be my son's mother. God entrusted him to me and my husband to nurture, and while it has not always been easy, it has been a journey I would take over and over again. I am also grateful for the wonderful schools he attended, the teachers who inspired him, his caring and supportive friends, his extended family, and the opportunities he has had to see the world. I am also grateful for the fantastic university he is attending and them expressing their gratitude to us, the parents, for entrusting our son into their care.

AMAZEMENT: I am truly amazed at my son. When I held him in my arms after he was born, I couldn't even imagine what he would be like in eighteen years. It seemed so far away, with so many bridges to cross and milemarkers to pass. I wondered what he would look like and act like. I wondered if he would be super smart like his dad, or face challenges like his mom. I wondered if he would be into sports or music or technology, if he would be a leader or a follower. There was so much to wonder back then. But now, I know and am amazed at how amazing he truly is and how each step he took in his eighteen years has formed him into who he is today.

LOVE: I love him, plain and simple. No matter what choices he makes, good or bad, I will always love him with all of my heart.

So, with all of these emotions running through me, there is not a way to really say how I feel without going into great detail with each emotion. I decided to create my own emotion by creating a new word using the first letter of each emotion and arranging it to my liking. I first came up with flagherpee, but that sounded like what someone at a doctor's office would say when you are giving a urine sample. Nope, that would not work. Then I came up with feegraphel, refhapglee or feelhagper, but those didn't do it for me. Finally, I got it. FEELHAPERG! It's perfect! I feel happy and erg at the same time! I have created a new name for my emotions, so now, when someone asks me how I feel about my son being away at college I can say, "I'm feelhaperg about it."

If you need to share my new emotion, feel free. I am certain I'm not the only one experiencing feelhaperg. If you suffer from feelhaperg, please share in the comments!

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