My son just got back from studying abroad. He was home all of 18 hours during which time he unpacked, did laundry, ran errands for supplies, repacked, had a hello/goodbye dinner with his sister, slept and was off again. He’s on his way back to Maine (with a 12 hour stop to see his girlfriend in New Hampshire) to lead a group of teenagers on a several hundred mile sea kayaking trip up the coast of Maine.
I thought I was used to his coming and going. I thought I had filled my life enough with my own new journey as a chef so that the pain of the life that’s over (raising my kids) had numbed. But it hasn’t. Of course I am so proud of the people Ali and Clint have grown to be. Proud of their accomplishments, compassion, and independence. That’s what I had hoped for, right. My job as mom was to prepare them for their life journey. To give them the confidence to take advantage of what life has to offer, explore and fly. But the time we had together now seems so short, too short. Those car rides home from school, sitting in traffic on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway were some of the most precious moments my kids and I shared. All the ordinary day to day moments were so special, as simple as they were.
When my son got off the plane at JFK, I surprised myself by bursting into tears. I guess I hadn’t let myself think about how much I had missed him. And now, 18 hours later as he waves goodbye with his impish smile, off on his next adventure, my tears pour uncontrollably. “Liquid Love” but none the less gut wrenching sadness. He will be home for four days at the end of August, before heading back to Colby for Junior year. I’ll look forward to and cherish that time, knowing the goodbye will never be easy and the pain and mourning for the life that is over will never fully be gone.