Time To Fly
Atlanta has been my home for four years now. I came here to support my only child in his pursuit of higher learning. I raised him in Salisbury, Maryland. He was accepted to the Georgia Institute of Technology 14 years after he came home from Just Children Daycare and announced he was going to college. He talked about it every day. First, he was going to be a Jedi, then a policeman, then a doctor.
For at least five years he talked about aerospace engineering like it was his job. When it was finally time to go to college, he had all the right reasons to become a biomedical engineer. This month, he will obtain a B.S. in business administration, finance.
From kindergarten until now, he liked some of his classes and he disliked some. He had daily conflicts and successes. He saw school as the road to becoming a successful human.
Of course, this drive has its shadow. My son has had times of stress. He has worked himself into exhaustion. He approached mental illness and had to find his way back. He developed test anxiety just in time to take his college entrance exams. I called teachers, school administration, therapists, athletic coaches, whomever could support him while finding his way out from under the darkness cast by the light of his overachieving.
We worked through all of it. Now he is arriving. The excitement in our house as he pushes through the last few classes while exploring employment options is palpable.
The other day I asked him, “What did I do right? With so many children not succeeding, not thriving, and many even losing their lives to suicide and violence, what made our experience different?”
He reflected for a moment then answered, “You kept me too busy to think about much. Sports and recreation burned off the anxiety. After practice and homework, I was too tired for anything else.”
Much of my time as a mother has been spent feeling like I could have done more. I have anecdotes of ways I failed him. We had many challenges. I have much gratitude that life forgives often, and we are resilient. I realize, looking back, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew it seemed to be working, so I hoped for the best and tried to enjoy the ride.
I recently sat in meditation and asked myself, “What did I do right?” The vision of me loving him when he was a mere seed with a heartbeat swept over me and I remembered. I held him. I prayed over him. I poured love into him. I held space for him. I allowed him to discover who he was. I read to him from birth until he started reading simple words before his third birthday, and from then on, we read to each other. I played with him and took him places he could explore. I made sure he got to wherever he needed to go, from preschool to lacrosse practice to the World Youth Peace Conference to Georgia Tech.
People ask me how I raised a child into a successful adult in this volatile world. The simple answer is, I practiced active love. I held him so close and often as a baby that he was confident enough to start exploring when it was time. I stayed close enough to support but far enough away to allow him to discover. I made mistakes and I made some wonderful choices too, but my desire for him to reach as much of his human potential as possible saturated everything.
I was blessed with ability to create one life. I had one chance, so I gave him great wings and encouraged him to fly.
Today, he soars so high he can sense the spin of the earth. Soon he will descend onto his path and resume his next goal- seeking mission, taking flight to reach the pinnacle of each one.
My greatest hope for my child is that along his path, he also finds peace, hope and love within himself and those he spends time with. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. The rest was always up to him.
Lucretia Robison is an Emory-trained health and wellness coach, a bodyworker of more than two decades, a writer and a blogger. If you have a personal story of awakening that you’d like to share in Walking Each Other Home, please contact [email protected].