Once upon a time (also known as the other day) my honey and I were in a hurry to pick up my 12 year old son. For a whole week my son was on a school trip adventure to explore life without me. The day that he left he decided that it would be best if I did not walk him to his class. So there he was, barely able to balance the millions of things that he decided to pack in his arms without falling over, yet still refusing help. He looked excited, happy and impatient for a new found independence.
And then there was me...all mopey bopey and kicking my imaginary rocks as I watched him walk away.
I promised him that I wouldn't cry, but as I watched him go I realized how quickly the past 12 years have gone. Just yesterday I held his hand and walked him to his first day of kindergarten; now I watch as he walks alone through his last days of elementary school.
Then it hit me. This overpowering realization that in barely more than a blink of an eye he will be off on his own to become the adult that I've been carefully sculpting all of these years.
That was the moment that I almost broke my promise. As the tears welled up I looked over and saw my sister walking toward me. She took one look at me and gave me a hug. Not just any hug, it was the "perfect timing" hug. You know, the one that rescues someone from falling apart. Turned out I was able to keep my promise after all.
I didn't sleep for 5 days after that. I was worried, distracted, emotional and overly prepared for any kind of emergency. Sure, I pretended to be brave. But the truth is that no matter how long I was able to distract myself, no matter what I did, I couldn't stop looking at the clock and counting down the days until he came home.
Finally, five sleepless days later, the day to pick him up arrived. So there we were, honey and I, rushing out the door when honey decides to grab a snack. He grabs a bright red apple, takes two bites and opens the door for me (sweet, right?). That's the moment where I looked down and saw it.
A big heart, right there in the center of the apple.
It was a sign. Of love & happiness, a sign of faith. A sign that says, "It's okay to let go because he will always come back to you."
We arrived at the school at the same time as the school bus. I was the first parent there and impatiently watched as the bus parked. It seemed unusually loud. The kids sounded happy and refreshed and to prove the point, they were singing a song on the top of their lungs for the world to hear. People walking by made sympathetically funny comments like, "there goes your peace and quiet huh?" I laughed and nodded and waited.
One by one each child got off the bus. And then I saw him. Smiling and laughing as if the past week had been the best week of his life. I tried to refrain from embarrassing my boy with my typical mom-like behavior but I tell you, as soon as he was within arms reach I just couldn't help myself. I walked right up to him and said in my not-crying yet emotional mom voice, "hi honey! I missed you so much!" and gave him a huge hug.
I might know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking, "way to go mom. Traumatize him for life why don't you." Lol...It's okay, I thought that too. But this is where the magic happens, you see, because right when I would expect him push me away because I embarrassed him, he just smiled, rolled his eyes in pretend objection and said to his friend, "See...told you so."
So that's my story. The best masterpiece I have ever created walked away when given wings, but he came back and when no one could hear, he smiled and whispered, "I missed you too, mom."