Thursday, August 4, 2011
How It Is
Funny how they grow, how they disappear into their lives full of friends and activities and the first flutter of romance and they barely ever glance over their shoulder, so occupied are they in becoming. And the parents, the ones made like me, we stand here, feeling the loss of them even though we know this is how it works, how it is supposed to work, we can't hold on much as we might wish to. Perhaps sons leave more completely, I don't know. Or perhaps they leave only for a while, and when they are fully who they are, when we have stopped needing and expecting and wishing, they can come around again, they can forge something new.
I am struggling to accept what is. You'd think I'd have come to terms by now. Lord, I am a slow one. It's just that when he comes home from working all summer, he will have just one week before school starts, and his girlfriend and another friend will be staying here, too, and I will go to work and leave them all sleeping each morning, and come home and find them all gone, or if I find them home they will be occupied fully with one another and their friends, and then he will take the bus up to his college on the Friday of that week while we are at work. We will drive up the next day with our daughter and our niece, who attends the same school, carting his stuff and hers, but by then he will have disappeared into his life at school, indeed he is going up early because he and his friends are all attending a concert that afternoon, and I am sitting here thinking how little they know, how much they cannot fathom what it would mean to simply share that five hour drive north, to hear the stories from summer spill out easily the way they can on a road trip, to have him for just that little bit of time, before releasing him again to his life.
It is 4 a.m. and I am awake in the most emotional part of the night. This is when the tears fall. When I held him as a baby already squirming to discover everything around him, I never knew our time would go so fast or that this releasing would be so hard. I think there is such a thing as feeling too much. I think I'm missing the switch that other people have that lets them modulate. Or maybe this is just how it is for some of us. We swallow the ache. We smile and do. We pretend as hard as we can to let them go. And dear God, don't I sound pitiful. I should get some sleep. Maybe I'll delete this post in the morning.