This past weekend, my son went off to college for the first time. And oh...so many feels.
I know this is a great thing. An important transition. A LIFE moment. And I'm proud and thrilled for him. I'm also sad. I hardly feel old enough to have a son in college - seriously, weren't we just filling up his Pokedex? I miss him - the telltale grinding of the garage door opening as he loped in from school or the rustling sound as he rifled through the fridge or of his laughter ringing through the house. Sometimes he'd walk in, completely zoned out in some podcast he was listening to and disappear until dinner and other times he would burst through the door, plant a purposely sloppy kiss on my cheek and ask how the writing was going. His presence in our home was palpable.
So, too, is his absence.
Oddly, this LIFE transition coincides with one of my own writing milestones. I just sent back first pass pages for THE PROMISE OF AMAZING. First pass is one step closer to being completely finished. It's proofing the typeset pages with a critical eye and making it perfect. You would think at this point I'd be so over Wren and Grayson I couldn't deal with them again. And part of me does feel that way.
The other part of me wants to make sure they are leaving the house with emergency money and clean underwear. (The Post-its represent places I'm changing things!)
As hard as it is to do it, for both my firstborn and my first book, letting go is an inevitable part of life. It's not necessarily a bad thing; gut-wrenching, maybe, but it also opens up a door for new energies to come in. My son will meet friends who will appreciate his uniqueness and his lovely, lovely laugh. My characters will go out into the world and hopefully find readers who are captivated by them as much as I am. Are either of those things guaranteed?
That's what makes letting go so exciting and terrifying. But, if you listen long enough, there's something else in that silence after goodbye - the whispers of new characters. New places. New and ever-evolving relationships.
How do you cope with letting go?