Life along the Great Barrier Reef is full of dangers when you’re a tiny clown fish. And for Marlin, a single parent determined to protect his only son, Nemo, there are constant fears and anxieties. When it comes time for Nemo to leave the protective shelter of his sea anemone home for the first day of school, Marlin nervously accompanies him and agonizes over his every move. When Nemo defies his father and swims beyond the reef’s awesome “drop off” to investigate a boat, he is suddenly scooped up by a diver as Marlin helplessly watches.
That’s the beautiful story and adventure of Nemo, after many scary moments and crazy adventures he is finally united with his dad Marlin.
Ok so now let’s go to my story ….
On Friday I left my son alone at Wits for his first day of orientation. Now last year more or less this time I went through the same experience when we left Moo in Cape Town.
Not only was he alone in his varsity and new big world he was also in whole different city 1000 kilometers away from us. Oh no, learning to let go was not easy! A whole year later and I am still struggling.
This year it’s a whole new experience, I had to leave my youngest baby at varsity. Thankfully he has not moved away, he is right here at home, but the experience was just has hard and difficult for me.
This is the baby of the family and I can’t hold on to him a little longer because he’s just as grown up and ready for his next challenge in life and to enter a whole new world.
When I drove off on Friday I felt like I had abandoned a helpless small lost child in the world of the unknown.
I know I sound crazy and a bit neurotic. But he looked like little Nemo all alone in the ocean. Before he got out of the car he told me his tummy was sore, and I knew he was nervous.
As I drove off I cried because I had reached another time in life when I realized just how grown up my baby is. I have to let go of this one too. It’s his turn to get out there and experience the world of a young adult. All I could think of was “how am I going to protect him from those sharks out there?”
And I feel a bit like Marlin looking around furiously for the safety of my child. When the boys were little it was mayhem running around from school to swimming, karate and other socials. Cleaning up mess, keeping boys busy, late nights doing homework and emergency trips to the doctor. I thought it would never end. Those changes and years seem so slow sometimes. Now I can hardly look at a photo of them when they were little and not feel like crying.
My little Nemo is on his own journey, and I am on mine.
I can’t participate like I used to, now I’m just a loving bystander.
My nest is almost empty, where have the years gone? My child has a newfound independence, he’s reached a new chapter a whole new book in his life.
Keep swimming my little Nemo. I am profoundly proud of you. You were born in a great year – 1994 – and you are destined for extraordinary greatness!