23 August 2012

Time is fleeting

Monday night, the daughter was moping about the start of school the next morning.

"Erm," I said. "You don't need me to go into school with you in the morning, do you?"

The daughter looked at me as though I had a screw loose, but her expression quickly softened to sympathy.

"No, but you can if you want to," she replied.

"Oh, I don't want to," I hastened to assure her. "And I didn't really think you wanted me to. It's just that sometimes you surprise me and want things I wasn't expecting."

"No, really, it's ok," she told me firmly.

Which is as it should be. Still, it was only a year ago that she wanted me to walk her almost as far as the front door.

**********

In mere days, the son will board a plane and fly across the country to begin his university career. Since we returned from Europe, my energies have been largely directed toward getting him out of here. With bed sheets. And toiletries. And his clothes.

I tend to keep grief tucked away until I am ready to contend with it. So, I've ferried him to the doctor and the DMV and stores. I've helped him pack and sort, and I've kept my own counsel. It's unlikely that I will explode in tears when it comes time to say goodbye. This is not my way; I don't cry much.

But there are times. I cried when he got his first vaccinations; his look of shock when the needles went in made me feel as though I'd somehow betrayed him, that I'd allowed pain into his life. I cried when I left him at preschool for the first time; he had taken the first step on the road away.

Eventually, I will probably cry this time, too. Not for him, but for me. He is on the road to adventure, and I think he's smart enough, I think we've raised him well enough, that he will fly.

And I will fly, too, in new patterns and to new destinations and new dreams. I expect his path to cross mine, hopefully, again and again in the future.

It's just that he will no longer travel alongside me.

Which is as it should be.

But I will miss him.

Go listen to some amusing music: "Time Warp" from the album The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture). Word of warning: I am not anti-vaccination. Do not come here looking for that fight.

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