I did my best to step out of the reach of that breeze, but it still caught me. That warm, dry breeze of fall whipped across my back as the sun gifted us with scattered drops of sunshine beneath the full canopies of the trees, still full of green, although dry, leaves. All of these seasonal flutters are reminders of a different time, a different place, of just one simple year ago. We would have been at the reservoir today, at the Regatta.
And I can only describe this as a deep, dark ache.
And, then I remember the day, last spring when it was far too cold to be on the river, but they were anyway, rigging their boats, racing, and how he said, “I never get cold when I’m rowing,” and I remember standing in the kitchen, checking the time on the clock, calculating when I could leave at the very last second, and still catch his race. I zipped the full length of the zipper on my black down coat, and I took off. And I let the egg rolls burn that day…so hard to do it all.
I can still remember how cold I was that dreary day, and that too hurts!
And the thing that kept me walking out the door was, “this is the last chance I have to do this.”
Mom, you would be so proud of me. What I trooper I am.
There is no more watching him, the effort of pushing and pulling that oar, waiting on the results, marveling at his sweat, the muscles that formed — the man he was becoming, transforming before my eyes. This simple child, that lined up Toy Story Toys at breakfast….my, child, we have walked down so many roads together, I can hardly remember them all….
Waiting for him to get home on the bus, needing to be picked up and the high school. Meanwhile texting him, to find out what they would be doing that night. Would his friends be here, later? If so, it was time to start cooking.
So I’m left now with this dull ache. The ache of missing him, mildly, when the wind blows, yet knowing how happy he is, and that even a visit can’t erase or undo what is happening… this permanence of separation, of growing up.
A friend told me last night that her husband couldn’t stop spontaneously hugging their son, all weekend, when he came home for a visit.
So, freeing to know someone else feels that same dull ache that I feel, and how he transformed it with that simple hug — pressing heart against heart, an effort to transform some of that ache into a love that can be shared, so sweetly, and so simply.
And so for the rest of these boys, that are left behind, reality has settled in, clouding what I once took for granted. I know now, in a different way, what I had always knew before — but didn’t really quite understand until now — these boys that are left behind are not permanent residents.
How this helps me savor, respect, listen, stay attentive. Their days now, are flipping by, like the decks of a cards as they are shuffled, all leading to this same place ….
I will add that the fact that there are friends coming over for snacks tonight, has made my aching heart do a cartwheel flip.
They have no idea, do they? How much we love them… This is the same revelation that came to me, when they brought him to me, fresh, sweet, cradled in flannel, and that amazingly, beautiful baby smell. You, just cannot imagine…. I know this — because I was you once — a simple child…. you cannot imagine, how deeply you are loved.