No this can’t be, my inner voice screams as I take a picture of my youngest before he leaves for his first day of junior year. Who is this young man standing in front of me with his long, skinny legs and deepening voice? I can’t help but feel a little sad as I think back to my little boy trying to step into the bus with a backpack that was as big as he was. The years have flown and now more than ever, I am sober to the idea of an empty nest. These kids have been my whole world and it is bittersweet to think my job here, at least when it comes to raising them at home, is quickly coming to an end. I am also grateful to have been blessed enough to be here for every moment. This morning I sat on the couch with a heavy heart as I reminded my husband that next year this time Chase will be starting his senior year. He quickly reminded me that there was no reason to fast forward this year in my mind and to embrace each day as it comes. This is a reminder to enjoy everyday. Don’t miss today because you are focused on the past or fearful about the future. Today is the one that matters. Pay attention to the details and imprint them on your heart. Change is inevitable but can also lead to the most amazing journey. Buckle up. Here we go!
My world feels like one of those paintings where all the colors blur together. Everything is moving so quickly lately and I am fighting hard to feel somewhat anchored. I imagine myself on a large ship moving full speed ahead and the only choice I have is to be pulled along. Inside I am freaking out, silently screaming stop or wishing for a temporary pause. I know life is dynamic. Not a single day is the same and the person I think I am today will not be the same person I am forced to be tomorrow. Usually I embrace change. I often find comfort in the whole certainty of it but tonight I am struggling with allowing it to flow. I went to see the Christopher Robbins movie today so this line from Winnie the Pooh seems to explain exactly how I am feeling.
“I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” —Winnie-the-Pooh
If you think 244 miles isn’t a long distance, ask the heart of a mother who just left her daughter behind to start her sophomore year of college. Every mile we drive, the separation becomes more palpable. I’m absolutely certain now that no matter how old my kids are or regardless of whatever dream or path they are following, I will always ache to have them near me. A mother bird feels much better when her babies are cozy in the nest. Sure she knows that one day they will fly on their own and she will celebrate that moment but there’s no denying the comfort she feels when she is physically watching over and protecting them as she guards the nest. This too shall pass just like it did last year but for now I will allow myself to mourn as I try and get comfortable in this place of feeling such loss. I know now that a child can never really know a mothers love until he or she becomes a parent. It’s not something you can explain or describe and the connection is unbreakable no matter how many miles keep you apart. My heart feels as empty as my gas tank as I get closer to home. Although my heart is sad, the joy and excitement in my daughters eyes will serve as a reminder of this amazing journey she is on. I want her to enjoy every moment and to know that each second that goes by, she is loved more than she could ever know.
Enjoy the calm. There is no storm coming. There is only this moment, right now. Embrace it. Bask in it.