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I am having difficulty with being a patient person. I have historically been able to wait for things–I have been exceptionally adept at jumping through hoops in my academic and professional life. But parenting mostly adult children is something that my life has inadequately prepared me for.

I spent much of my professional career teaching college age students, so I never really expected that dealing with my 21-year old son and his boomerang back into our lives would affect my ability to be patient as strongly as it has.

Shut in a jar
the words bounce and echo
again and again we hear the same lines
the same comments
the same rationalizations

And from my mouth
my voice
drips with barely controlled anger
equally repetitive words

Daily we shake the jar
rattle the words around
recombine them in new and hurtful ways
until bruised and battered

I need patience
to examine that which is imprisoning us
to solicit help
to explore how to uncap the jar
and release us

Patience to find new words
a new interaction
a new beginning

(c) Lydia A. Schultz 2015

My oldest is about to graduate from college this year, and I have been thinking about the process of nurturing and letting go.  I wrote this a number of years ago, when he went off to sleep-away camp for the first time.  Funny, to me it doesn’t seem so long ago.





Is an ache

Not like the active toothache

But like the way your tongue keeps working a spot

Where the tooth is gone,

The way your jaw remembers that place.

The pain isn’t stabbing or shooting

But constant

A sense of loss

Of being missed

Of something that was so much a part of you

That its absence makes clear

Just how essential.


You grow so fast, so far away.

I cleaned your closet in your absence

Finding old treasures, long forgotten,

Finding the badges of your courage,



The letting go is hard–

Harder than I thought.

But the joy in the progress, the growth,

The glimmers of the man you will become,

Make me hopeful.


So I sit with tears now

That I can’t tell you about.

Tears after the heartfelt hug you gave

In spite of wanting to be macho in front of your friends.

Tears when I heard your tiny brother

Sigh deeply and say,

“I miss Daniel ’cause I love him.”


A boy too big to kiss his mom in public

But young enough to sneak

Stuffed animals into bed.


My gentle, temperamental son,

I miss you too

And love you.


Camp helps me to grow up too.


(c) Lydia A. Schultz