but we knew enough to know we didn't want to react as our parents did.
... and it really HURTS us to know that all three kids want to get far away from Texas. Rationally I know this has nothing to do with how they feel about me, but emotionally...
... we feel like we're being selfish and undermining what he worked so hard for.
Hi, ShayRisa--I'm so glad he got there okay. We don't have outside kids either, but we've been in our partner's kids since they were 11, 13, and 15, some 20 years ago now. And I often have felt in dealing with them that I have no frame of reference since we can't recall our childhood. But not wanting to pass on the toxic parenting of our parents is a huge, huge thing. Some people are never self-aware and instead simply continue the dysfunctional cycles. You aren't doing that.
I remember one saying that stuck with me, something about needing to provide your kids with "roots to grow and wings to fly." It sure seems you all have done that. Your son has both the confidence and the initiative to explore his world. You should be proud of yourselves, too, that he felt ready to go off for a month, flying across the country on this scary, exciting new adventure. (And, hey, as a west coaster, I have to say he's making a very good decision as far as location. You'll love visiting him!
I don't read anything that sounds selfish. Feeling the pain of kids moving away is perfectly normal. Absolutely, totally normal. Please don't be so hard on yourselves. Instead, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done and allow yourselves some extra self-nurturing, knowing that this is a hard transition, and a scary one since it's deeply encoded in you as a mother and long been your job to keep your son safe, and now he's taking that ginormous step of independence where he is becoming responsible for his own safety, becoming an adult. Gack! Necessary, normal, healthy, but freakin' scary. I hope you can find ways to soothe and support yourselves through it.