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At a Loss for Words

On Thursday, my son finished up his junior year of high school, and today his dad, little sister and I drove him 75 miles to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he’ll spend the next 6 weeks immersed in Art. He’ll spend much of that time muddying his clothes in the ceramics studio, with his hands elbow-deep in clay that turns magical in his two hands — hands that have turned sinewy and strong from all his time at the potter’s wheel.

He hugged me and patted my back with those hands when we left to drive back home. He’s gone to summer camps before. But this was the first time that he didn’t push me toward the exit with impatience, counting the seconds before I would stop embarrassing him, or smothering him, or fretting too much, or whatever it is that I do that usually drives him absolutely crazy. “Thanks, Mom,” he said instead.

We were standing in his dorm room, the place that will be his home for the next six weeks. I don’t think he was talking about the twin-sized bed I had just made up for him, with the freshly purchased extra-long sheets and the fleece blanket from his bed at home. He seemed to be talking about something else entirely, and it was that other thing that caused a sudden lump to rise in my throat.

I had noticed it earlier: He walked with ease with the three of us around the campus, getting the lay of the land, taking it all in like he always does — like he always has since his newborn eyes focused so intently that as a new and nervous mother I was convinced it was the sign of a vision problem.

As we walked around the campus, and checked him in, and picked up his ID card, and visited the health office, and the housing office, and all that, he didn’t say much, really.

But it was more what wasn’t there that I noticed: The way he didn’t walk two steps ahead of us or loiter behind us. The way he didn’t look away — seemingly mortified at being caught red-handed with the ridiculous people who spawned him — when we passed another student on the brick sidewalks near the school. The way that he didn’t roll his eyes when I clarified with the kitchen attendant some specifics of his meal plan, or got the exact coordinates of the laundry facility. And when I relayed it back, he actually listened, and he didn’t cut me off with an impatient, “O-kay! I know!”

In other words, he didn’t act one bit like he’d rather be anywhere else except where he was at that very moment, interacting with anyone else except me. If you have a teenager, or you’ve ever been one, you can recognize that behavior.

His “thank you” in the dorm room was for help with all of that, I think. But also for putting him there at all. By that I mean writing the check, of course.

But more than that: for racing in the pouring rain to the post office to make the application deadline. For slogging through the confusing reams of paperwork the college sent. For the marathon seven loads of laundry just the day before. The desperate run for deodorant. The last-ditch stop on the way because I was worried he wouldn’t have enough cash for supplies. For the opportunity he seemed suddenly awed to realize he had been given.

I could fool myself into thinking that his thank you meant more than that: that he was grateful for all the stuff that fell into place in the 17 years leading up to today, too. All of the mostly thankless and unacknowledged stuff that I do, and any parent does, just to keep our kids healthy and happy and safely out of the path of a moving bus, those that are actual as well as metaphorical.

But he probably wasn’t thinking of that, of course. Love rolls down hill. It’ll be years and years (I hope) before he has his own family and he’ll come close to understanding any of it.

All afternoon, in the back of my mind, while we zipped around the campus on foot on a hot, muggy day, I tried to think of a word that might describe how completely happy he was to be there, how excited, how amazed at the possibilities, how completely turned on he felt.

And then I tried to think of how it felt, as a parent, to see him so happy and alive. Most parents might describe it as pride, I guess.

But pride doesn’t come close, because it’s not about me. It’s about him. What’s a word that describes how you feel when one of the people you love most in the world, one of the very few people you would gladly suffer deeply for, would do just about anything for just because they asked — no questions asked, no strings attached, no payment required — without resentment, or anything even close to anger or complaint, and in fact would see it as a kind of duty and honor?

What’s the word for a kind of love that fills you up to the point that it overflows the brim?

Whatever you call it, that’s what rose in my throat today, and rendered me unable to tell him, right then, that I was happy for him.

That I loved him.

I hoped he’d have the time of his life.

And goodbye.

Total Annarchy

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151 Responses to At a Loss for Words

  1. Natalie says:

    hh good lord this made me cry. Thank you for giving your son the chance at his dreams. That’s what all parents should strive for. You are amazing. Thank you!

  2. Natalie says:

    hh good lord this made me cry. Thank you for giving your son the chance at his dreams. That’s what all parents should strive for. You are amazing. Thank you!

  3. Meg says:

    May I have the privilege of being a mom like you one day. This inspired and touched me. Thanks, Ann.

  4. Meg says:

    May I have the privilege of being a mom like you one day. This inspired and touched me. Thanks, Ann.

  5. Lora Prill says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Lora Prill says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Ann Kingman says:

    You’re amazing. How in the world do you make me cry with every post you write? This is beautiful. I can’t wait until I have such a moment with my daughters someday.

  8. OMG, Ann, I have been there. I think he also knows he’s perilously close to going off to college, and to the end of his childhood. They all want to grow up, but they don’t want that to end, either. For me, it was sending Chelsea to tennis camp in Florida from Arizona. She was 17 then, and she’s 35 now. Just yesterday she said to me, ” I can’t believe how much you invested in me and my tennis.” And every penny worth it! Enjoy, Ann. You are a good mom.

  9. Ann Kingman says:

    You’re amazing. How in the world do you make me cry with every post you write? This is beautiful. I can’t wait until I have such a moment with my daughters someday.

  10. OMG, Ann, I have been there. I think he also knows he’s perilously close to going off to college, and to the end of his childhood. They all want to grow up, but they don’t want that to end, either. For me, it was sending Chelsea to tennis camp in Florida from Arizona. She was 17 then, and she’s 35 now. Just yesterday she said to me, ” I can’t believe how much you invested in me and my tennis.” And every penny worth it! Enjoy, Ann. You are a good mom.

  11. I’m rushing down right now to spend time with my still-at-home teenagers because this day is coming soon for me.

  12. I’m rushing down right now to spend time with my still-at-home teenagers because this day is coming soon for me.

  13. Cecelia says:

    I call it deep hearted overwhelming love.I have felt that many times for both my children,most recently when my son had his Eagle Scout ceremony.He stood up in front of a church full of people and spoke from his heart with out any notes.Love, simply deep hearted overwhelming love!

  14. Cecelia says:

    I call it deep hearted overwhelming love.I have felt that many times for both my children,most recently when my son had his Eagle Scout ceremony.He stood up in front of a church full of people and spoke from his heart with out any notes.Love, simply deep hearted overwhelming love!

  15. Amy Flanagan says:

    Wow. That is motherhood in a nutshell. The name you’ve given to this post feels ironic as you have so perfectly described every last dream I have for my children but have never been able to articulate. Thank you.

  16. Amy Flanagan says:

    Wow. That is motherhood in a nutshell. The name you’ve given to this post feels ironic as you have so perfectly described every last dream I have for my children but have never been able to articulate. Thank you.

  17. Katrina Hollmann says:

    Ann – How I have missed your posts. Your gift for putting the real meaning of the experiences of life into words that touch your reader’s emotions is truly amazing. Thank you, as always, for sharing something so personal. You always make me think and nearly always make me cry or laugh.

  18. Katrina Hollmann says:

    Ann – How I have missed your posts. Your gift for putting the real meaning of the experiences of life into words that touch your reader’s emotions is truly amazing. Thank you, as always, for sharing something so personal. You always make me think and nearly always make me cry or laugh.

  19. Beth W says:

    Beautiful words. I think you captured a nearly indescribable feeling wonderfully. Thank you.

  20. Beth W says:

    Beautiful words. I think you captured a nearly indescribable feeling wonderfully. Thank you.

  21. I have thought of you often lately–My husband died of a heart attack without warning on June 2nd…and when I struggled with writing something for the Memorial service, I thought of you…I was at a loss of words but somehow found them when I went back to read some of your posts.

    This was lovely! Thank you.

  22. I have thought of you often lately–My husband died of a heart attack without warning on June 2nd…and when I struggled with writing something for the Memorial service, I thought of you…I was at a loss of words but somehow found them when I went back to read some of your posts.

    This was lovely! Thank you.

  23. Chris B-D says:

    I remember your guy on the cusp of junior high–he’s so grown-up now! How did that happen?? I just realized yesterday that my oldest is halfway to high school–and even at 7 puts on a show of his exasperation with us sometimes. My middle guy has lately asked me to stop using “Baby” as an endearment. And my youngest, who will be 2 tomorrow, is insistently growing up, always grasping opportunities to be independent, even as I want to keep tugging her back into babyhood.

    Your essay makes me understand, for the first time, what it will feel like to love *and* let go.

  24. Chris B-D says:

    I remember your guy on the cusp of junior high–he’s so grown-up now! How did that happen?? I just realized yesterday that my oldest is halfway to high school–and even at 7 puts on a show of his exasperation with us sometimes. My middle guy has lately asked me to stop using “Baby” as an endearment. And my youngest, who will be 2 tomorrow, is insistently growing up, always grasping opportunities to be independent, even as I want to keep tugging her back into babyhood.

    Your essay makes me understand, for the first time, what it will feel like to love *and* let go.

  25. gradontripp says:

    A beautiful write up, Ann.

    My son is only ten, and a curl-up-beside-you-watching-a-movie kind of ten, too. He has yet to shy away from the love his mother and I show him, but we both know he will. And when he gets past that, and accepts our love in a most adult sort of way, well, I’ll just lose it.

    Yeah, I’m sappy like that.

  26. Gradon Tripp says:

    A beautiful write up, Ann.

    My son is only ten, and a curl-up-beside-you-watching-a-movie kind of ten, too. He has yet to shy away from the love his mother and I show him, but we both know he will. And when he gets past that, and accepts our love in a most adult sort of way, well, I’ll just lose it.

    Yeah, I’m sappy like that.

  27. Vicki VanV says:

    What a fabulous opportunity–I hope he has a great time and learns a lot! Thanks for sharing a parent-and-child moment that is yet to come for us.

  28. Vicki VanV says:

    What a fabulous opportunity–I hope he has a great time and learns a lot! Thanks for sharing a parent-and-child moment that is yet to come for us.

  29. Claudia says:

    You’re an alchimist!
    Thank you for this exceptional bit of life.

  30. Claudia says:

    You’re an alchimist!
    Thank you for this exceptional bit of life.

  31. I hope he reads this someday and understands that he gets to be awesome because you see it as a privilege to be sharing his life with him. Pride, like you said PERFECTLY is for the parent and not the kid–that’s why I hate that sentiment. It tweaks me every time I hear it. Loved this so much!

  32. I hope he reads this someday and understands that he gets to be awesome because you see it as a privilege to be sharing his life with him. Pride, like you said PERFECTLY is for the parent and not the kid–that’s why I hate that sentiment. It tweaks me every time I hear it. Loved this so much!

  33. Ginny Bartosek says:

    So well expressed. Absolutely lovely.

  34. Ginny Bartosek says:

    So well expressed. Absolutely lovely.

  35. Pingback: Twitted by GinnyBartosek

  36. Oh, wow! This one really gets to me. Beautifully said. If you have time, stop by and read my last post of a similar nature, “Graduation and the Leaving.”

  37. Oh, wow! This one really gets to me. Beautifully said. If you have time, stop by and read my last post of a similar nature, “Graduation and the Leaving.”

  38. It wasn’t until I had Abby two years ago that I understood. How deeply and profoundly that love hits you, and often when you least expect it. Your gift to us, Ann – and to him – is your ability to put into words what so many of us feel but could never describe.

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you.

  39. It wasn’t until I had Abby two years ago that I understood. How deeply and profoundly that love hits you, and often when you least expect it. Your gift to us, Ann – and to him – is your ability to put into words what so many of us feel but could never describe.

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you.

  40. Tim Berry says:

    Wow, parenting, transitions, constant change; this is so much of what life really is. And it keeps going. Our youngest is 22 now, jumping — gulp — very quickly into a new life, and it brings it all back in an instant. Our oldest is almost 37, also still jumping, occasionally, like she did when she was five years old, off of a small stone wall, to break her leg. As parents we watch, and hope, and remind ourselves that they’re supposed to run their own lives. But I don’t think either me or my wife, parents for almost 37 years now, have ever really managed “arms length.” Although we are still trying.
    Great post again, thanks Ann.

  41. Tim Berry says:

    Wow, parenting, transitions, constant change; this is so much of what life really is. And it keeps going. Our youngest is 22 now, jumping — gulp — very quickly into a new life, and it brings it all back in an instant. Our oldest is almost 37, also still jumping, occasionally, like she did when she was five years old, off of a small stone wall, to break her leg. As parents we watch, and hope, and remind ourselves that they’re supposed to run their own lives. But I don’t think either me or my wife, parents for almost 37 years now, have ever really managed “arms length.” Although we are still trying.
    Great post again, thanks Ann.

  42. David Reich says:

    RISD is a great school and providence is a neat town. I remember it from many years ago, when my sister went there.

    I know exactly how you feel. I remember the day we brought our daughter up to Tufts. We were so excited for her, but as we left and as soon as she was out of sight, my wife and I both had to wipe away tears. In the car heading home, neither of us could speak for quite a while, because the lumps in our throats were so big.

  43. David Reich says:

    RISD is a great school and providence is a neat town. I remember it from many years ago, when my sister went there.

    I know exactly how you feel. I remember the day we brought our daughter up to Tufts. We were so excited for her, but as we left and as soon as she was out of sight, my wife and I both had to wipe away tears. In the car heading home, neither of us could speak for quite a while, because the lumps in our throats were so big.

  44. Karen says:

    “Love rolls downhill”. I love that.

    You took me both back and forward in time. Back to the day my dad dropped me off at college. I (and probably dad too) felt the way you described yourself – plenty of lumpy throats to go around. Yet this year my nearly 12-yr. old went to Bela Karolyi’s gymnastics camp – her first time away with no family, her first time at an “away camp” so I know what you mean about the word pride not really hitting the mark. And I know with my daughter, the coming years will fly far too fast.

    Two words came to mind after reading your post, the first a Greek word for love, Agape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape). And the second word, one of my favorites, is bittersweet.

  45. Karen says:

    “Love rolls downhill”. I love that.

    You took me both back and forward in time. Back to the day my dad dropped me off at college. I (and probably dad too) felt the way you described yourself – plenty of lumpy throats to go around. Yet this year my nearly 12-yr. old went to Bela Karolyi’s gymnastics camp – her first time away with no family, her first time at an “away camp” so I know what you mean about the word pride not really hitting the mark. And I know with my daughter, the coming years will fly far too fast.

    Two words came to mind after reading your post, the first a Greek word for love, Agape (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape). And the second word, one of my favorites, is bittersweet.

  46. Christian Gulliksen says:

    Sweet story, Handley!

  47. Christian Gulliksen says:

    Sweet story, Handley!

  48. Hiro Boga says:

    Oh, Ann, thank you for this beautiful post! I’ve been there with my own sons. There aren’t words for the kind of love that fills your heart to the brim, and leaves you speechless. But you’ve come close . . .

  49. Hiro Boga says:

    Oh, Ann, thank you for this beautiful post! I’ve been there with my own sons. There aren’t words for the kind of love that fills your heart to the brim, and leaves you speechless. But you’ve come close . . .

  50. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks everyone here…. for the kind words, the understanding, the links. And yes, “bittersweet” is ringing true this weekend, for sure.

    Katybeth — I am so sorry for your loss. I had no idea.

  51. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks everyone here…. for the kind words, the understanding, the links. And yes, “bittersweet” is ringing true this weekend, for sure.

    Katybeth — I am so sorry for your loss. I had no idea.

  52. Lisa Healey says:

    Aw, Ann! This is so wonderful. My youngest boy just left me to live with his dad on the other side of the country so I know EXACTLY how you felt. He made the decision so maturely that while I was sad, it certainly made me proud. Luckily my oldest doesn’t want to do anything but live at home and go to college locally so hopefully your daughter will have the same tendencies.

    Be brave!

    oxox

  53. Lisa Healey says:

    Aw, Ann! This is so wonderful. My youngest boy just left me to live with his dad on the other side of the country so I know EXACTLY how you felt. He made the decision so maturely that while I was sad, it certainly made me proud. Luckily my oldest doesn’t want to do anything but live at home and go to college locally so hopefully your daughter will have the same tendencies.

    Be brave!

    oxox

  54. Jeb says:

    I think I’m on the other end of that cycle. My oldest is just now 10 and beginning that change from being our loving, respectful son to one beginning to test the limits. My initial responses were a pretty clear reflection of how stubborn I can be, but I’m doing better now.

    Mostly, I’m seeing that it’s his job to find his place, and mine to ensure he has the light by which to operate…even if he doesn’t realize I’m there, on the fringe, holding the flashlight.

    You’ve detailed a wonderful story, Ann, and the much needed encouragement we all need from time to time to stay the course.

    Thank you…

  55. Jeb says:

    I think I’m on the other end of that cycle. My oldest is just now 10 and beginning that change from being our loving, respectful son to one beginning to test the limits. My initial responses were a pretty clear reflection of how stubborn I can be, but I’m doing better now.

    Mostly, I’m seeing that it’s his job to find his place, and mine to ensure he has the light by which to operate…even if he doesn’t realize I’m there, on the fringe, holding the flashlight.

    You’ve detailed a wonderful story, Ann, and the much needed encouragement we all need from time to time to stay the course.

    Thank you…

  56. What’s the word that describes this kind of love? Perfection.

  57. What’s the word that describes this kind of love? Perfection.

  58. Jen A. says:

    Ann, once again you have put many important sentiments into words. The journey to adulthood always seems so long (and unforgiving these days). Then all of a sudden, “poof” it happens when we least expect it. Dropped Isabelle at summer camp yesterday. Sniff. Thank you- this was just what I needed!

  59. Jen A. says:

    Ann, once again you have put many important sentiments into words. The journey to adulthood always seems so long (and unforgiving these days). Then all of a sudden, “poof” it happens when we least expect it. Dropped Isabelle at summer camp yesterday. Sniff. Thank you- this was just what I needed!

  60. Carrie says:

    Wow. That just made me cry a little. I’m glad you had a good “goodbye” from your son. The love and maturity that he showed with it is a demonstation of what a wonderful job you must have done as a mother. Kudos. :)

  61. Carrie says:

    Wow. That just made me cry a little. I’m glad you had a good “goodbye” from your son. The love and maturity that he showed with it is a demonstation of what a wonderful job you must have done as a mother. Kudos. :)

  62. Thanks for writing this. Trying to swallow the lump now. Not succeeding.

  63. Thanks for writing this. Trying to swallow the lump now. Not succeeding.

  64. GiGi says:

    Ann,
    Great post and what a milestone for you and your son! With a 9 year old and a 12 year old, I both dread and hope for a day like you described! Love reading your work!

  65. GiGi says:

    Ann,
    Great post and what a milestone for you and your son! With a 9 year old and a 12 year old, I both dread and hope for a day like you described! Love reading your work!

  66. Paul Chaney says:

    I remember that day too, when my eldest finally grew up enough inside himself to say “thank you.” Took longer than age 17, but well worth the wait.

  67. Paul Chaney says:

    I remember that day too, when my eldest finally grew up enough inside himself to say “thank you.” Took longer than age 17, but well worth the wait.

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  70. Mandy Vavrinak says:

    Ann,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My oldest boy is 14, starting high school in a month and I am beginning to see flashes of the man he’s struggling to become. They are fleeting moments of maturity, sprinkled here and there amidst the normal teenage angst of his days. But I know the feeling you describe… And agree, it’s not pride. When he looks at me, after an actual conversation, and tells me “thanks” just for getting it, it’s hard to best that feeling. It’s all the protective, consuming love you feel for your newborn–matured, tested, refined–and you know, in that moment anyway, that he’s going to make it. Thanks for putting your emotions into such eloquent words :)

  71. Mandy Vavrinak says:

    Ann,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My oldest boy is 14, starting high school in a month and I am beginning to see flashes of the man he’s struggling to become. They are fleeting moments of maturity, sprinkled here and there amidst the normal teenage angst of his days. But I know the feeling you describe… And agree, it’s not pride. When he looks at me, after an actual conversation, and tells me “thanks” just for getting it, it’s hard to best that feeling. It’s all the protective, consuming love you feel for your newborn–matured, tested, refined–and you know, in that moment anyway, that he’s going to make it. Thanks for putting your emotions into such eloquent words :)

  72. bethharte says:

    What a great piece Ann! I don’t have kids…but now I feel totally guilty for being the eye-rolling teenager that I was even when my parents gave so much of what they could. Thanks for reminding us all that love rolls down hill (and uphill, sideways and in circles sometimes). ;-)

  73. Beth Harte says:

    What a great piece Ann! I don’t have kids…but now I feel totally guilty for being the eye-rolling teenager that I was even when my parents gave so much of what they could. Thanks for reminding us all that love rolls down hill (and uphill, sideways and in circles sometimes). ;-)

  74. Steve Alker says:

    A timely reminder Ann – Cameron has already done his introductory experience for the army and in a couple of years, vet-school will probably beckon for Gabby.

    I often wondered what went through my parent’s minds when they shipped me off to five different universities for my interviews. The panel at St Andrews really summed it up though: I had to go up for a viva because I won a scholarship there and afterwards, my abiding memory was a question from the Master of United College.

    In an intimidating oak panelled room decorated with portraits of past vice chancellors, (It was called the Hebdomader’s Room) the deans were seated round a huge polished table. The Master said, “Mr Alker, is there any reason we should be aware of, as to why your choices of potential universities are all outside a 200 mile radius of your home?”

    I must have given an acceptable answer as I got the scholarship and a couple of years later, when I had closely worked with him on student matters, he told me that as head of discipline, his nightmare was not unruly students, but over-interfering parents, so having mine at the end of a six hour journey from home was a blessing!

    Doesn’t sound as though your lad will be one of the former or you one of the latter!

    Best wishes

    Steve

  75. Steve Alker says:

    A timely reminder Ann – Cameron has already done his introductory experience for the army and in a couple of years, vet-school will probably beckon for Gabby.

    I often wondered what went through my parent’s minds when they shipped me off to five different universities for my interviews. The panel at St Andrews really summed it up though: I had to go up for a viva because I won a scholarship there and afterwards, my abiding memory was a question from the Master of United College.

    In an intimidating oak panelled room decorated with portraits of past vice chancellors, (It was called the Hebdomader’s Room) the deans were seated round a huge polished table. The Master said, “Mr Alker, is there any reason we should be aware of, as to why your choices of potential universities are all outside a 200 mile radius of your home?”

    I must have given an acceptable answer as I got the scholarship and a couple of years later, when I had closely worked with him on student matters, he told me that as head of discipline, his nightmare was not unruly students, but over-interfering parents, so having mine at the end of a six hour journey from home was a blessing!

    Doesn’t sound as though your lad will be one of the former or you one of the latter!

    Best wishes

    Steve

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    @DonnaPapacosta I had the same feeling as Ann Handley [link to post] dropping each son off at the dorm for univ year 1! – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    @DonnaPapacosta I had the same feeling as Ann Handley [link to post] dropping each son off at the dorm for univ year 1!

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    Another beautiful, inspiring gift from Ann: RT @MarketingProfs: Sometimes, words just fail me: [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    Another beautiful, inspiring gift from Ann: RT @MarketingProfs: Sometimes, words just fail me: [link to post]

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    Lovely. RT @MarketingProfs: Morning, everyone. Thanks for all the love on my “At a Loss for Words” post: [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    Lovely. RT @MarketingProfs: Morning, everyone. Thanks for all the love on my “At a Loss for Words” post: [link to post]

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    RT @hertantya: A beautiful writing on the purest form of love 1 could ever find RT @MarketingProfs:”At a Loss for Words” [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    RT @hertantya: A beautiful writing on the purest form of love 1 could ever find RT @MarketingProfs:”At a Loss for Words” [link to post]

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    Very touching RT @BarbAtSea: Lovely. RT @MarketingProfs: Morning, everyone. “At a Loss for Words”: [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    @surtisunanto i don’t even have a kid and was misty eyes when i read that damn @hertantya re: [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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  90. Donna Tocci says:

    Ann – your son is lucky to have you as his Mom and we, your readers, are lucky that you share all of these wonderful experiences with us. You have outdone yourself this time.

  91. Donna Tocci says:

    Ann – your son is lucky to have you as his Mom and we, your readers, are lucky that you share all of these wonderful experiences with us. You have outdone yourself this time.

  92. Twitter Comment


    @MarketingProfs think the word u r looking for may be victory. ever time my kids do something like your son is doing i feel victory for them – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    @MarketingProfs think the word u r looking for may be victory. ever time my kids do something like your son is doing i feel victory for them

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    @MarketingProfs great post Ann! I laughed out loud a few times thinking back to my teen years. Then I emailed it to my mom and thanked her! – Posted using Chat Catcher

  95. Twitter Comment


    @MarketingProfs great post Ann! I laughed out loud a few times thinking back to my teen years. Then I emailed it to my mom and thanked her!

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  96. Twitter Comment


    Incredible essay about parenthood RT @MarketingProfs Sometimes, words just fail me: [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

  97. Twitter Comment


    Incredible essay about parenthood RT @MarketingProfs Sometimes, words just fail me: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  98. Susanna says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  99. Susanna says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  100. Noreen says:

    A very timely piece to read since I just left my 11 year old off at camp yesterday. This is our third year and each drop-off is different. She was nervous, excited, and not sure how to say goodbye to me (though I know it was harder than she let on). Thanks for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes and reminds me that time is moving quickly for us as a family and to cherish each drop-off and transition with our loved ones. It is a great honor to love my daughter and to experience that love you describe. The one you would gladly suffer for. Beautiful.

  101. Noreen says:

    A very timely piece to read since I just left my 11 year old off at camp yesterday. This is our third year and each drop-off is different. She was nervous, excited, and not sure how to say goodbye to me (though I know it was harder than she let on). Thanks for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes and reminds me that time is moving quickly for us as a family and to cherish each drop-off and transition with our loved ones. It is a great honor to love my daughter and to experience that love you describe. The one you would gladly suffer for. Beautiful.

  102. Jeff Rothe says:

    Ann,

    I should be completing a Status Report about my meeting today, AND, I had to thank you for so eloquently expressing the feelings that proud parents have when their child shows signs of maturity — or is it signs of them becoming what we really wanted them to be? Or is it signs that they have responded the way WE wish we had?

    Less tweeting, more blogging; please!

    BARQ (Jeff)

  103. Jeff Rothe says:

    Ann,

    I should be completing a Status Report about my meeting today, AND, I had to thank you for so eloquently expressing the feelings that proud parents have when their child shows signs of maturity — or is it signs of them becoming what we really wanted them to be? Or is it signs that they have responded the way WE wish we had?

    Less tweeting, more blogging; please!

    BARQ (Jeff)

  104. Bethann says:

    Ann – as always a great piece that cuts to the heart. As the mother of a soon to be college freshmen, I feel much of the same.
    You know I’ll be calling you for a shoulder to cry on.
    Love, Bethann

  105. Bethann says:

    Ann – as always a great piece that cuts to the heart. As the mother of a soon to be college freshmen, I feel much of the same.
    You know I’ll be calling you for a shoulder to cry on.
    Love, Bethann

  106. Ann, I think the word is “LOVE”. You already knew that, right? As always this is another brilliant piece of writing that takes me right to that college campus where you were with your son. I can’t wait until its my turn, although its still another 15 or so years away. In the meantime, I better continue investing in the bond that we have already started building. Once again thanks for letting us into your amazing world.

  107. Ann, I think the word is “LOVE”. You already knew that, right? As always this is another brilliant piece of writing that takes me right to that college campus where you were with your son. I can’t wait until its my turn, although its still another 15 or so years away. In the meantime, I better continue investing in the bond that we have already started building. Once again thanks for letting us into your amazing world.

  108. Gwen Dille says:

    What a beautiful post — thank you for taking the time to write it and for reminding all of us parents about the unbelievable gift we’ve been given. There’s nothing more amazing and awe-inspiring than the opportunity to love someone as much as we love our children and to watch them grow each day into the people they were meant to become.

  109. Gwen Dille says:

    What a beautiful post — thank you for taking the time to write it and for reminding all of us parents about the unbelievable gift we’ve been given. There’s nothing more amazing and awe-inspiring than the opportunity to love someone as much as we love our children and to watch them grow each day into the people they were meant to become.

  110. So well put. Try distilling that to 140 characters – it would have become meaningless.

    As my Dad often tells me about parenting – it’s just the first fifty or sixty years that are hard, after that it gets easier.

    Well done Ann. I’ve signed up for the RSS!

  111. So well put. Try distilling that to 140 characters – it would have become meaningless.

    As my Dad often tells me about parenting – it’s just the first fifty or sixty years that are hard, after that it gets easier.

    Well done Ann. I’ve signed up for the RSS!

  112. zil says:

    Ahhh Ann – Perfectly put – again.

    I just spent over a week in the endless rain with my husband’s extended family. Along the way I had a private heart to heart with my days shy of 51 year old child-less brother in law about parenting. He is seriously involved with a much younger woman and is surveying his friends with the question “if it was physically possible would you have another child …now.” After much discussion and opinion sharing I finally said if you’ve never had a child you should, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can’t imagine the love, feelings and emotions that lie dormant in you – age shouldn’t matter if you are not limited physically. He looked at me amazed and said I was the first to say that- all of his friends, peers, parents with teenagers and/or younger children seemed to focus more on the “work” or the required energy and the “oh, I could never do it again.” Your post puts into words what I never seem able to put into words – thanks for sharing your gift.

  113. zil says:

    Ahhh Ann – Perfectly put – again.

    I just spent over a week in the endless rain with my husband’s extended family. Along the way I had a private heart to heart with my days shy of 51 year old child-less brother in law about parenting. He is seriously involved with a much younger woman and is surveying his friends with the question “if it was physically possible would you have another child …now.” After much discussion and opinion sharing I finally said if you’ve never had a child you should, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can’t imagine the love, feelings and emotions that lie dormant in you – age shouldn’t matter if you are not limited physically. He looked at me amazed and said I was the first to say that- all of his friends, peers, parents with teenagers and/or younger children seemed to focus more on the “work” or the required energy and the “oh, I could never do it again.” Your post puts into words what I never seem able to put into words – thanks for sharing your gift.

  114. Until you have a child you never understand that lump in the throat. Thank you for showing a human side of the world during a time we all need an escape.

  115. Until you have a child you never understand that lump in the throat. Thank you for showing a human side of the world during a time we all need an escape.

  116. Michelle Farnum says:

    This is when yiddish comes in handy. I’m neither a parent nor a jew, but after spending 20 years in Madison Avenue agencies I picked up some good words. Kvell is one of them.
    Yiddish is the best language. They have word that describe undescrib-able feelings.

  117. Michelle Farnum says:

    This is when yiddish comes in handy. I’m neither a parent nor a jew, but after spending 20 years in Madison Avenue agencies I picked up some good words. Kvell is one of them.
    Yiddish is the best language. They have word that describe undescrib-able feelings.

  118. Gavin Heaton says:

    @Michelle Farnum – that is a great word! Kvell.

    Thanks Ann … this is why blogs are not dead ;) Where else do we get a story that touches our hearts because it comes from the heart? It must be exciting (and slightly daunting) to be pushing your child out into the ocean of life. Of course, as we do so – with great care – we imagine our kids as small boats made of folded newspaper. Yet when they return they are seaworthy, burnished by the salt and riding the waves.

    I hope I am as brave as you when my kids head off to college. Oh, and are you writing a book? You should.

  119. Gavin Heaton says:

    @Michelle Farnum – that is a great word! Kvell.

    Thanks Ann … this is why blogs are not dead ;) Where else do we get a story that touches our hearts because it comes from the heart? It must be exciting (and slightly daunting) to be pushing your child out into the ocean of life. Of course, as we do so – with great care – we imagine our kids as small boats made of folded newspaper. Yet when they return they are seaworthy, burnished by the salt and riding the waves.

    I hope I am as brave as you when my kids head off to college. Oh, and are you writing a book? You should.

  120. Roshan says:

    Touching, heart-warming & tender. A great write up about your feelings. I don’t know your son but I know he has a terrific mom. As I read it I was actually imagining the scene unfolding in front of me.

  121. Roshan says:

    Touching, heart-warming & tender. A great write up about your feelings. I don’t know your son but I know he has a terrific mom. As I read it I was actually imagining the scene unfolding in front of me.

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  125. C.C. Chapman says:

    Here I am getting ready to drop my daughter off for her first overnight camp (only 3 days) and my son for his first week of camp and this post brought up all kinds of emotions.

    As always your writing captures the magic and emotion of the moment. Please never stop sharing. Pretty please.

    Thank you. *grin*

  126. C.C. Chapman says:

    Here I am getting ready to drop my daughter off for her first overnight camp (only 3 days) and my son for his first week of camp and this post brought up all kinds of emotions.

    As always your writing captures the magic and emotion of the moment. Please never stop sharing. Pretty please.

    Thank you. *grin*

  127. Twitter Comment


    A must read for parents as we send our kids away to camp – [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    A must read for parents as we send our kids away to camp – [link to post]

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    RT @digitaldads A must read for parents as we send our kids away to camp – [link to post] – Posted using Chat Catcher

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    RT @digitaldads A must read for parents as we send our kids away to camp – [link to post]

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  131. Diane Court says:

    Ann, this is so right! You have so perfectly captured this threshold moment of parent and children in which we feel that extraordinary connection and their being in and of their own person. As my son reaches his 21st birthday today and my daughter, 17, heads to college orientation in just a few days, I celebrate this moment with you. Thank you.

  132. Diane Court says:

    Ann, this is so right! You have so perfectly captured this threshold moment of parent and children in which we feel that extraordinary connection and their being in and of their own person. As my son reaches his 21st birthday today and my daughter, 17, heads to college orientation in just a few days, I celebrate this moment with you. Thank you.

  133. leigh durst says:

    You make me laugh and cry at the same time, all the time. Such a culmination of years, raw experience and emotion. I hope he has a blast and embraces his gifts like you do. ;-)

  134. leigh durst says:

    You make me laugh and cry at the same time, all the time. Such a culmination of years, raw experience and emotion. I hope he has a blast and embraces his gifts like you do. ;-)

  135. Brad says:

    Beautiful article, Ann…I’m usually at a loss to explain the joys of parenting to someone that doesn’t have children. I just realized that the lump in the throat is beyond words. Well, it was until a few minutes ago.

  136. Brad says:

    Beautiful article, Ann…I’m usually at a loss to explain the joys of parenting to someone that doesn’t have children. I just realized that the lump in the throat is beyond words. Well, it was until a few minutes ago.

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  138. Alexis Ceule says:

    Thank you so much for this. *sniff* I hope my 11 yr old son and I have a moment even close to this when the time comes. ; )

  139. Alexis Ceule says:

    Thank you so much for this. *sniff* I hope my 11 yr old son and I have a moment even close to this when the time comes. ; )

  140. B.L. Ochman says:

    jeez ann – every time i read one of your posts i say to myself “wow! this is the best one yet!”

    but ya know what? This one IS the best yet. Wow!
    you write circles around everyone else.
    BL

  141. B.L. Ochman says:

    jeez ann – every time i read one of your posts i say to myself “wow! this is the best one yet!”

    but ya know what? This one IS the best yet. Wow!
    you write circles around everyone else.
    BL

  142. Jenni H says:

    As tears roll down my face, I am deeply touched by your loss for words. I'm a mom of young children and I can only imagine what it will be like when my kids are going to camp and college. I also like your observation that love rolls downhill. You don't fully realize it all until you are a parent and appreciate the circle of life. I hope your son had a wonderful experience!

  143. This post leaves me breathless. Just beautiful. I wish I knew the word for that kind of love because I know exactly what you're talking about it. I feel it every time I lay eyes on my six year old son. How I hope he and I reach the wonderful place you've gotten to with your son.

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