You know Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web? And how he protects Charlotte’s egg sac for months? The baby spiders finally hatch and he’s delighted! But then he’s suddenly devastated because they immediately fly away?
That’s exactly how I felt when my three kids went back to school this week. After such a fun summer being together and adventuring, then poof, they were gone.
Wilbur tearfully calls goodbye to each of them and is fraught with despair. That was me, but trying to hold back the tears, and be encouraging. You will do great!
According to Scientific American, Charlotte’s hatchlings were “ballooning,” the method that baby spiders use to disperse themselves through nature. In fact, most spiderlings, after emerging from the egg sac, spin a dragline and balloon away. I read that baby spiderlings have no wings, but can fly as high as the highest-flying insects and birds, depending on the air current and weather and such. I also learned that baby spiders are called spiderlings. 🙂
Charlotte’s spiderlings are full of hope and are excited for what’s ahead. They are ready to launch, days after emerging from the egg sac.
My three children have been nurtured a little longer than the spiderlings (ha!) and are each in different launch phases. My oldest son is now a senior in high school. My daughter is in the eighth grade. My youngest son just started sixth grade. We are done with elementary school with one and college is on the horizon for another…the other is in between. Each child is full of hope and excitement (and some angst) for what’s ahead. I am not worried about them adjusting and learning and experiencing. No doubt, it’s an exciting time! They are up for the challenges of academics and social–and everything in between. I feel confident that they are confident and prepared to launch. It’s just that their leaving makes me a little sad.
Janet Lehman, an author with Empowering Parents, emphasizes: “As parents, we really have to accept that our kids are growing into separate individuals. That’s a good thing, because that’s how they learn to function in the world.”
We want our baby spiders to “balloon,” don’t we? As parents, we want to instill in them love and support and encouragement that reinforce that they have the abilities and confidence to function, launch, and excel.
This is nature. Spiderlings venture off on their own. Each has its own path. So do humanlings. And they usually “balloon” on the first day of school. With backpacks.
Transitions are hard for me. One of the hardest is going from summer to fall. Summer, with its free-flowing fun and so much time with my children. Then, bam. Fall, with its schedules and rigidity and less time with my children. I can’t help it: I love to be with my children. Plus, who doesn’t like to eat ice cream and walk along the river and adventure in the city and play with Otis in the backyard shade?
My youngest saw my tears and said, “Mom, don’t cry. It’s not like I’m going to boarding school. I’ll be home later today!” He was right.
Chin up! As Charlotte would say.
Go, spiderlings, go! Fly free! (And I’ll see you at 3:00 p.m.!)