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The “My Baby” Syndrome

Posted on: August 1st, 2013 by bubbyjoysandoys 5 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

Okay, I was a bit cocky and over-confident. I thought it was really no biggie. Look, I’ve sent kids off to camp, college, yeshiva and to friends for overnights. I really did not expect the unthinkable to happen.

Gotta Let Them Fly?

Help – he’s flying off!

Boy, was I wrong.

I thought I’d be a mature adult and behave with utmost decorum.  I’ve done this before and I was fine the other times.

So what was the big deal when last night our youngest son left home to fly to the East Coast for yeshiva?

Why all the hysteria? Why the anxiety?

Why did I linger at the counter when the agent was asking us to put the luggage on the scale?

Why did I space out – and dawdle — when the agent finished tagging our son’s luggage, give him the boarding pass, and send him/us on our way?

Why did I panic the minute our son said good-bye at the security checkpoint, and insist he come back for one final hug?

And why oh why did I completely forget – yes forget – to take even a single picture of him, us, or even the siblings who were at the eatery that night saying good-bye to their little bro?

Answer in four simple words: The My Baby Syndrome.

What is The My Baby Syndrome, you ask?

The My Baby Syndrome is when beyond all rational thought, you treat your otherwise adult child – who can be upwards of 19 years old as if he or she is ummmm 3?

The My Baby Syndrome is when you turn into a mother of a toddler, as evidenced by the way you speak to him (sweetheart, did you pack your socks? You’re sure?). You simply forget (yes forget) that said adult child (S.A.C. from here-on-in) is not a toddler.

Is this you and your adult child?

Is this you and your adult child?

The My Baby Syndrome is when parent peppers S.A.C. with reminders during the week leading up to the trip. Example of one such reminder: Make sure to take your carry-on with you when you leave the plane.

Answer from S.A.C. (calmly and respectfully): No, Ma, I’ll make sure to leave it on the plane.

The My Baby Syndrome is when S.A.C  has flown cross country (gasp) for perhaps the umpteenth time in his life, but this time you feel compelled to phone the minute you estimate the plane has landed.

I recall my own mother crying hysterically one day on the phone when I called her to ask how her day was going. Honestly, from the way my otherwise upbeat mom sounded,  I thought someone had died. Or at the very least, I thought someone was very very sick.

My mom would not tell me what the cause of her tears was, and so I resorted to calling my sister who is usually privy to the goings-on of my mom as she lives closer to our mother.

“You thought someone died, Miriam, right?” – my sister said with understanding.

“Yes,” I said. “Can you tell me why Mommy is crying so hard already? I”m worried.”

“Well, her baby is not coming in to town for the dinner tonight.”

You see, that night my parents were being honored by the community for some cause, and my sister – aka my mom’s baby – who just happened to be aged 35 at the time, was not able to come because her kids got sick that day.

My mother’s reaction? To cry and bawl.

Clearly, my mom was too embarrassed to share with me why she was crying. She clearly has enough insight to realize that it is ridiculous for us to be behaving like that. I had to get the answer from my sister.

Regardless, this seems to be an uncontrollable phenomenon. We attach a certain deep emotional feeling to our youngest child.

It symbolizes for us a variety of scary things:  The end of an era. The beginning of a new era. Life is changing. Life is moving on. Our youngest one no longer “needs” us.

What do you think this is all about? Why do we act differently with our S.A.C than with all our others? Or do we?

Are we overprotective as parents and grandparents? Or are we more so with one child (or grandchild) than the other?

Do you relate to this in any way? Let me know; I’d love to read about it.

Have a great day, and remember (I’m talking to myself here) to let them spread their wings and fly!

Spreading their wings..

Let them spread their wings…

Photo Credit 1

Photo Credit 2

Photo Credit 3


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5 Responses

  1. This will be me in about 10 days. I’ll link my post to you. My daughter will be flying from east to west… to relocate in San Francisco. It’s very hard. I’m already walking into her room and feeling very wistful.

  2. OmaOrBubby says:

    Well, I guess we can all commiserate…nice to hear others are going through the same thing. I went into my son’s room this morning, felt wistful and then turned that feeling into a need to de-clutter– and already cleared out some extra pants to give away.

  3. ann says:

    Do I relate to this? IN EVERY WAY!! I recently sent my youngest off to yeshiva in Israel yesterday and I could have written the article! Thank you for expressing it so beautifully.

  4. OmaOrBubby says:

    Thanks Ann! I am so glad that you related to these thoughts. We empty nesters can definitely understand each other. Lots of mazel to you on this new stage and to your child now in Israel!!

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