Last night we sat around the dinner table with the children and compared calendars. We realized, to my horror, that because of #1 Son's work schedule, this was the last night all five of us would be home for dinner before Snowman returns to Land o'Lakes Arts Academy and #1 Son moves to Bed-Stuy (which I'm told is not as scary as it was back in my day, circa 1982–and if you know otherwise? please feel free to keep it to yourself, okay?).
Okay, Songbird, breathe.
I have to admit, I've been finding that hard to do when I consider their departures. #1 Son needs to talk about furnishings for his new apartment? I try to get a shallow breath. Snowman gives me a form to fill out for scholarships aimed at conservatory? I feel my head getting light.
Now, I have an 8th grader, so we're not exactly talking about an empty nest here.
And we have reframed our lives together as the boys left home for school.
But this is different. This is someone moving out, seeking his way in the world–
wait, trying to get a breath–
seeking his way in the world, someone who I brought into the world, now going out there to be who he is, and I don't know when we'll see him next, not exactly, or whether he'll be free to come home for holidays, or any of those things, and I find that quite literally breath-taking.
Being a mother is one of those jobs where you try to put yourself out of work, but then feel badly when you succeed and often feel a little resentful when they bounce back and need home care again, or so I'm told. As a mother, I set aside some of the things I wanted to do or places I wanted to go to be present to my children, and now I'm in the funny position of encouraging them to set *me* aside, to have other connections be primary, to need me less.
There are so many things we cannot control, so many possibilities, so many eventualities. Children need to grow up and leave, it's what they are meant to do, and we can only do our best, then stand back and cheer them on, quietly in order to avoid embarrassing them.
I'm torn between wanting to do and say a last round of all the most important and iconic things in our lives together or letting things just unfold in their end of summer way, drawing in like the light, drawn in like a breath and exhaled, fully.