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A Mother's Dilemma
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I know we’re getting closer to exit 345 when the big black sunglasses come out and my mom’s nose gets red. I know we’re closer still when her cheeks begin to match her nose, which now resembles Rudolph’s. It’s the same screenplay every year when my parents drop me off at college for a new fall semester.

The first year was rough: I knew she was still crying when they drove off. The second year, this year, was a little easier: I saw the big black sunglasses and the Rudolph nose but not as many tears. The last few weeks of summer and the twelve-hour drive from Miami to Collegedale, Tenn. are challenging for both of us but I know I’m lucky.

My psychology professor told our class a true story of a student whose mom did not want to let her go. Her parents moved with her to the city where the college was located and her mom even followed her from class to class and waited outside the classroom.

Letting go is hard, especially because parents often make their children the major focus of their adult lives. I know that is definitely true for my mom, so much so that I am the reason we are in this country. My going to a Christian university is the reason we are in this country.

From my birth, my mom has sacrificed everything for me. She went out of her way to make sure I always had nutritious food, finding ways to bypass food-rationing laws in Cuba, and gave me things she never had. I was one of the luckiest kids on that whole island, I know it.

She Knew Why!

Finally, when I reached a point in which my education was critical, she did everything she could to move us to U.S. She went from teaching history at an art college in Cuba to working in a paper factory in the U.S. From having students equate her name with “brilliant” to being looked down upon for not speaking English. But she knew why she was doing it.

Our very first year in America, with no money, she enrolled me in an Adventist academy. Everyone told her she couldn’t do it, but she did. Fourth through twelfth grade, I received a Christian education.

I was always happy to tell anyone, who thought less of my mom because she spoke clumsy English, that I go to Southern Adventist University, and watching the priceless looks on their faces. They were shocked, and gazed at my mom with awe.

So what if she calls a little too much, she is learning to give me my space so I can study. So what if she texts me repeatedly “Hey!!!!!!.. Heeeeeey! HEeeeeeYyyyyYyyyyyyy!” when I don’t answer her call. She now understands when I tell her that I’m working and will call her later. She’s given her life for me, so it’s hard for her to let go of her only child, but she is learning to do it.

Yes, letting go is hard, but I think the ultimate thing parents need to understand is why their child is in college. Why did they spend so much on Baby Einstein DVDs if they weren’t going to let their child succeed on their own when the time came. They need to realize that maybe it’s best to let them make their own plans and yes, their own mistakes.

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By Raquel Levy. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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