Shortly after Aidan was born, some 25 years ago, John came home from work and found me weeping over his baby basket. “What’s wrong?” he said, understandably freaked out. “Nothing,” I replied, stifling my sobs. “It’s just that one day he’s going to leave, and I don’t know how I’ll survive”. I was clearly hormonal, but still. In those early days, I couldn’t let him out of my sight for very long. For the first few months of his life, he slept in a cradle next to our bed, until his increasing size dictated that he move into his freshly appointed nursery across the hall. Even then, I positioned his crib so I could see him from my bed at night. I would read him Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever”, fat tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking no one ever loved their baby as much as I did mine, while said baby slept on, oblivious.


I eventually got a grip on myself. I even went back to work when my maternity leave was up. A year or so later, we even managed to put him in daycare, where he spent entire days out of my sight. Like his mother, however, Aidan had separation issues. On his first day of senior kindergarten, he fretfully informed me that school “just wasn’t going to work out”. When a little girl invited him to come visit her in Scotland, he said he wouldn’t be able to until he was grown, and even then he would have to bring his parents (bless!)


When Aidan was 11, we sent him to sleepover camp. He was excited to go, but almost died of homesickness. We didn’t know the extent of it, because his letters didn’t reach us until the final week. When they did, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. Two years later, he wanted to give it another try, this time to a camp his friends went to in Manitoba. Contrary to what everyone suggested, I promised him that if it didn’t work out, we would fly him home immediately. He lasted one day, and I kept my word.


He eventually got a grip on himself. First, there was a school trip to Newfoundland, which he loved. Then, wonder of wonders, he went to India on a service trip, for three whole weeks. Then, after graduation, he went off to university. For the first few months, I walked around feeling like a hole had been blasted through my chest, but I was happy and relieved, knowing that Aidan had found his independence, but also knowing he’d be back eventually. He did come home after four years, but only after spending an entire summer traveling across South America. He had the time of his life. I am still recovering.


We had a two-year postscript, in which Aidan became gainfully employed, but not so gainfully that he could live on his own in downtown Toronto. He moved into our newly renovated basement, where he enjoyed a nearly autonomous lifestyle, with all the perks of home (cooking, laundry, 4K TV), and none of the expenses (rent, food, parking). I loved having him home. He wasn’t in the room across the hall anymore, but he was safe under the same roof. I loved it even more when his girlfriend moved in while they looked for an apartment together. For a short while, we were a big family again, with an extra member to love. I secretly hoped they’d never find their own place.


But they did: a beautiful apartment right downtown, right on schedule, prefect in every way. And two weeks ago, Aidan loaded up all his possessions (and more than a few of mine) in a rented van, and moved out, almost without a backward glance. The kid who didn’t think school would work out, who couldn’t last a day at camp, who wouldn’t even let me go to the ladies room without signing a contract ensuring my return – THAT kid … is gone. In fact, he left a long time ago, and in his place is this strong, wonderful, self-assured adult. If you do it right, they leave you, and apparently, we did it right.


But as long as I’m living, my baby he’ll be.


Read more Mo to Go HERE!

Have a comment? A suggestion? Just want to chat? You can email Mo here.

Listen to Darren & Mo weekday mornings from 5 to 9 on CHFI.

Filed under: #DarrenAndMo, Maureen Holloway, MoToGo