This weekend I did a lot of crying and thinking. Crying because my son’s departure is like ripping a bandage off a sore that’s stuck to the gauze on a hairy arm. Thinking because I really had to come to terms with the fact that this is outside of my control and he’s going to be fine.
My dad made the trip down to Columbus yesterday to spend some time with The Kid before he left. Like me, he asked him, once again, to reconsider leaving right now, but after accepting The Kid’s resolve, resorted to giving advice, cash and love.
To document our last day together, I decided to take a few pictures from our stops in our four-hour hang out time. We planned to go get food and catch a movie, but that didn’t quite work out sooo we ended up talking about his plans and how he came to this decision.
Wait… I need to go back. The last time I was here, he was going into the wilderness. Without a plan. Or a tent. Or even a good pair of shoes. Since then, he has decided that he’s going to Arkansas, a place that’s far enough from home and where the cost of living isn’t too bad and he can live off a small wage. He’s taking his phone, bank card and a tent. Since three weeks ago, some things have improved. Others – not graduating – didn’t, BUT he said he will definitely research some online school options or return once he settles down and has an address. I can live with that without waking up in the middle of the night worrying.
Now back to today. We had a very sincere and open heart-to-heart conversation about life. We realized that in the last month, we learned more about each other’s life experiences than we had in the last 18 years. He was grateful for me sharing some of mine with him and I appreciated knowing more about him and his life and goals. We both cried (him a few tears, me a river) because we’re scared: he doesn’t know what life has in store for him, but he’s ready and I don’t want to turn my baby over to life just yet. Once we got past the feelings though, we really talked. And listened.
When I could hear him without judgment or bias, something inside of me found a profound place of peace. He talked to me from a place I’d never been open to receiving before. And I knew, in that moment, that we were at the place where we all speak the same language. Our souls recognized each other in a different way than mother and son. We were two souls on a shared journey, seeking to experience this in our own ways.
Am I sad? Of course. As his mother, this is a major emotional upheaval. But in the midst of crying and worrying and asking the Universe to keep him safe, I’m also hopeful. I don’t think about all that could wrong, but about all that can go right, that he’ll find his stride and grow into the person he wants to be.