I begin this post through a veil of tears.
Tears of sadness.
Tears of happiness.
This month has flown by, as I knew it would. A month filled with fun, laughs, new experiences, quiet moments and time shared between a mother and son.
I am putting a piece of my heart on a plane today.
And I’m sending my only child back to Michigan.
Today is a bittersweet day. Today is a day I dread, yet a day I knew was coming. While I knew my son’s visit was four weeks long, I guess somehow I toyed with the fantasy of him staying here with me and my fiance. As the weeks passed, my son grew closer and closer to my fiance, and vice versa. I could see the beginnings of a wonderful relationship. I wanted nothing more to nurture and encourage such closeness.
At the same time, my son and I had grown closer. Closer despite the distance that normally separates us from each other. Old habits and mannerisms became easily visible. That easy laughter, those shared smiles, and those hugs.
Oh, those hugs…..
If there’s one thing my son and I do well, it’s hugs. We could teach a class on how to properly hug people. It’s a fine art, and sadly one that some people never master. When we hug, we dive right in. We go for gusto. We wrap our arms firmly around our victims and put them in a finely-measured squeeze that let’s them know there’s no escape from this outward display of affection.
And as the mother of an-almost teenage son, nothing makes me prouder than the fact that as his voice is changing, and as he begins to grow taller than the very woman who brought him into this world, he still isn’t afraid or embarrassed to deliver one of life’s greatest treasures. A hug.
As I sit in the car, speeding ever-closer to the airport where we will share our goodbyes, I am reminded of so many memories of his life. So many thoughts indelibly stamped onto my brain.
the first time I ever met him. The way he protested his debut into this world. That cry. That tiny body. That full head of hair. Those delicately-shaped fingers, curled around one of my own.
his first steps. First words. First crayon scrawls rivaling the finest artists. First day of school. First bike ride. First rollercoaster. First nicknames he bestowed upon us all, such as “Papa”, “Ga” (for grandma), “Daddy”, “Mama”, in addition to “nut”, which was so generously given to anyone he deemed worthy.
the day almost two years ago that I said goodbye to him, as I left in search of a better job, hoping he wouldn’t resent the very person who quite possibly loved him more than anyone else in the world.
so many emotions, feelings, and moments throughout the almost 13 years my son has been on this earth. It’s as if I took all the colors of the rainbow, mixed them delicately and spread them over an infinite canvas. The resulting work of art reflects the depth and bredth of what we have shared as parent and child thus far.
They don’t come with instructions, a diagram of how to get them through this life, so you instill what you feel is important. You give advice, you provide insight, you teach, you guide, you watch as your baby makes his way from childhood to adulthood.
You do the best you can…..
Now I reach behind the driver’s seat, rest my hand on his leg, quietly waiting as I feel the silky soft skin of his hand slide under mine, lacing his fingers in between mine.
Squeeze returned again.
I turn to find his sweet face in the darkness, lit only by the glow of the car’s instrument panel, and as our eyes meet, I hear: