My newest column which will be published next week. Early for you on the blog. Check out all my columns on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter.
My August is a precipice, a steep cliff that keeps dropping away from me ever steeper. I stand on this edge not only peering out at the drop, but looking ahead in the distance. I can’t quite make out what’s ahead in the hazy ephemera, but I know it’s there – solid and warm - waiting for me to arrive. My husband stands with me on this cliff, just a step back, and together we watch our last child prepare to leave the familiar nest of home.
Together we launched our eldest into her future some five years ago, and I wept. Four years later we delivered our middle child to her destination, and I wept. As I write, in two days we deliver our youngest to his starting point. I have been adamant over the years that they consider what is different - to see what is out there for them that doesn’t keep them near my sticky fingers. Those mom-fevered dreams that give you the itch to “drop in” with cookies or something they might need just so you can see their face. We bade them consider something that will be of value to themselves and then the world – not something that involves getting a “degree” for something they aren’t passionate about.
The hot sting of tears behind my eyes has become normal these last several weeks, and I’ve let the floodgates open. I embrace it and know that each tear that rolls down my cheeks is one more step in giving my child wings - wings to fly to unknown parts where they can collect themselves and their future. I’ve fixed my eyes on what I know to be true and right. Definitively we know this is where Hunter belongs. People may say, “Why are you sending him to an art school? How is that valuable?” I want to say to each and every one of the doubters, “What are YOU doing that is more valuable than this? How is your business degree, your teaching degree, or your degree in accounting any better or wiser a choice than any other?” We each have a choice in how to direct our lives and one way is not more important than any other. If we all chose to stay in the vicinity and get the same degree what a boring life we would all lead. I want to break down the walls surrounding our community and shed light on what is out there to encounter. We too often stay in our safe little boxes and peer out timidly around us with a judgmental eye. I reject sameness. I embrace diversity.
For now, we are carefully packing up each and every shoe, sweatshirt, and pillow. Socks are being bundled together and with each one my mind goes back to that tiny frame of his, now so broad, who curled himself into my lap for comfort each time the world hurt him. I let myself roam in those memories, walk around in them and pick him up just to bury myself in that tender neck one more time. I would be remiss to not let myself mourn what was – what remains in my memories. He is standing on the precipice as well, having fought his way to it, his frame now rugged and ready. He has forged his way through hands that wished to keep him down, sequestered, through words that traveled misleadingly on tongues without care. I laugh with him as we look ahead to the start – the start of his life on the edge. It’s a place where you make your dreams or drown in them, there in the highest of heights looking down uncertainly against the unknown. I see him there, standing on the edge, and I see him as a preschooler, so small and unsure. As quick as that image comes I banish it. We are behind him, ready to push him off that precipice – so he can fly away.
Next week when I climb the stairs to his room and sit on his bed, now stripped of its trappings and pillows, I will cry. I will think of him in that big city and I will be joyful. I will savor his scent so recently departed and I will smile, because I know he is where he needs to be.