“Apron strings, hanging empty crazy things
my body tells me, I want someone
to tie my apron strings…”
“Apron Strings” (Everything But the Girl) is one of those songs that’s been in my head forever. It’s from the soundtrack of one of my most favorite movies from my teenage years, She’s Having a Baby, starring Elizabeth McGovern and Kevin Bacon. I haven’t seen the movie in a long while, but the song has rolled through my mind for the past week. Why? Because for the past week, my two 14-yr old sons have been on spring break with one of their best friends and his family.
And I had to do a lot of self-coaching to be OK with loosening said apron strings and letting them go on the trip. When the topic was first brought up, all logic pointed to letting them go. We know the family; they live in our neighborhood and are all kinds of awesome. The mom is a teacher at the boys’ school. Their daughter is our 5-yr old’s most loved babysitter. The boys are all honor students and have played on the same sports teams for a few years now. They’re all great kids. There just wasn’t one valid reason to turn down the family’s super generous offer to pack up two of my kids along with their two and trek to sunny Florida. Not one reason. Except for the simple fact that the boys have never gone on a vacation without either parent in their lives. And out of state. It’s just so faaaaaar to Florida! As nervous as I was to send them off to Kindergarten on the first day (thinking “How can they possibly function without me with them?!”) I was doubly so on the day they left. That was last Friday. They were set to depart shortly after school was dismissed that day, and their excitement level was through the roof. I don’t blame them one bit. Had I been packing the car to leave for spring break, I’d have been just as silly and giddy. But no, they were going and I was not. And I had to be OK with it. We said our goodbyes and off they went. Our communication throughout the past week has consisted of daily text messages, which are pretty short, in accordance with the average teenage boy’s texting tendencies. (Although they will construct actual sentences when texting me… because “text shorthand” drives me insane and they know this.)
They have had the best time, hanging out on the white sand beach every day. And I’ve enjoyed knowing they are having so much fun and (most importantly) being supervised by parents whose limits mirror my own. But, oh… have I missed those two! Granted, the noise level in our house has been drastically cut for the past week, but despite the ball of noise they constantly generate, I have definitely missed them. They are beginning the drive back home tomorrow, and will arrive sometime Sunday afternoon. I cannot wait to see them, give each a big hug and (probably) marvel at how tan they are. They’ll probably seem taller, too, now that they’ve grown a little more independent from Mom. I wonder if they’ll sense anything different about me, now that I’ve learned to let go a little…? Will they see me as their usual caring mother, but perhaps with a little less “hovering?”
My hope is that they continue on their journey into adulthood, knowing I’m always going to be with them, either physically or in spirit – but with apron strings that aren’t tied as tightly as they used to be.
cold and lonely for time brings
thoughts that only will be quiet when someone clings
to my apron strings.”