It is bittersweet, the changing of things, the letting go. My life has been a whirlwind the last few years, but I am finally at peace. I am not spinning. I am doing things I want to do, authentically saying yes, and firmly saying no. I have built boundaries and learned how to listen to my heart and my body. These are the sweet things, brought forth by changes I neither wanted nor thought that I needed (and all of which were bitter) but apparently the universe thinks that I did. Need them that is.
On the outside, life is changing around me as well. Specifically I am talking about my boys. My eldest will be 16 this month, in 17 days to be exact, and I can feel the strings of my heart, the ones that connect me so closely to his, one by one giving way, unable to hold on much longer. My golden boy, the funny one, the inquisitive child, the serious thinker, and joy of my life, feels like he is no longer mine. His world is expanding outside of me, outside of our home and outside of the places I can protect him and keep him safe and it is both exciting and terrifying. I look at him out of the corner of my eye and he is nearly a man-it feels so foreign, so strange. I want to hold on, I want him to be mine for just a bit longer. Like forever, is that too much to ask? I don’t want this stranger man-child, I don’t want brooding silence and sulky answers, or worse yet, arrogant debates. I want my boy back, just a little while longer.
My youngest will be twelve just a month later. And while he still has his youthful innocence, his ridiculous sense of humor, and his wide open heart, he too is starting to pull. Not intentionally, not with the vigor his brother does, but I can feel the faint tug of independence starting. He is my baby, there is no other behind him, his moments will be my last moments. And the thought of my last anything hurts my heart in places I didn’t know I had.
This past Friday was Halloween, my favorite holiday-okay, one of my favorites. Before we moved here it was a big to-do; dinner with the neighbors, trick or treating with friends and family…we looked forward to it for weeks. But this year was different. Not just a new town, or a new house and a new neighborhood to walk. This year was the first year my youngest went out without us.
It happened so fast, I felt unprepared. His friends were up ahead on their bikes, loot bags dangling from their handlebars and C asked us to stop the car. Is it so wrong that when we passed his friends on the street, rolling their bikes up the hill, I wished for a moment that he did not see them? Was it wrong of me to be hoping when he ran up to talk to them, that when he came back he would say he wanted to stay with us? Was it okay that my heart lifted a little when he hesitated for just a second?
But he went. He went off on his bike in the dark with his friends to trick or treat for the first year ever without me.
It was bittersweet. I am proud of him-that he has adjusted so well to his new life here, that he is confident and outgoing and just ran up and joined the boys, that he had ‘the best Halloween ever’, even if it was without us. But it means I have to admit that he is growing up. He is not my ‘baby bird’ any longer.
So, I cried. Just a pinch, just the tiniest bit. The approaching holidays are making me homesick already and having my eldest drive away to meet up with his friends did nothing to help the ache in my chest. Watching my youngest step out into the night on his own just did me in. It is all at once so bitter and sweet, and I feel so unprepared.