Mamas, This Is For When It's Time To Let Them Fly

by Courtney Norris
Courtney Norris

You thought you cut the cord. You didn’t. He’s 19, almost 20. You thought you “let him fly” when he moved in with his dad senior year. It was the worst pain of your life. That had to be it.


Dropping him off in his dorm room. This is it. I’m doing it. I’m really letting him go! No, mama. You’re not (despite your guttural sobbing all the way home amidst flashbacks of his tiny grip while crossing the street).

He tells you he wants to quit college and move to Chicago to pursue his dreams because the fire in his gut for acting and theatre is so overwhelming that he can’t (won’t) focus on anything else. He wants to work and save money and move to Chicago as soon as possible.

Mom, this is it.

All those times you thought the rubber was meeting the road, you were still hovering. Now those tires are back-to-the-futuring down the road leaving flames.

You know you need to loosen that grip. You can’t. You keep clutching — tighter and tighter until your knuckles are white. The follies of youth have gotten to him, and it’s your job to keep him in line. But realizations that the tighter you grasp, the harder he fights flow in like waves of nauseous fear, fear of someone taking advantage of his gentle giant spirit, fears of him getting crushed when rejection feels like dark heavy hopeless bricks on his shoulders, the looming fear of the fire in his gut quelling.

“Where is your optimism?!”

That’s what he would say.

“Why so gloomy, Mama?” he would jokingly crack in an Irish accent, and you laugh through tears, and he puts his hand on your shoulder and slowly says, “I need chips, and laundry detergent.”

Where is your faith? Where is your belief that he can not only do it, but also be the best? Where is your faith that he will find his way — even in this big world?

It’s not so big. There is more than darkness. There is light.

And he’s one of them.

Let him shine.

Let him go.