The Beginning of Leaving

The Beginning of Leaving

The Beginning of Leaving

It’s Thursday night and I’m waiting to hear that Cole’s plane made it to Chicago.

I’m wanting to know if he’ll make his connection to Little Rock.

I’m praying he will clear customs in time.

I’m hoping he will find his way through a large airport.

I’m waiting to hear.

But really, I’m waiting for him to walk through the back door. I’m listening for the way the door slams when it’s him. For his step that I always recognize, whether I hear it at 4pm or 4am.

It’s not that I’m mourning his leaving for the summer. He’s going to a place we all know and love.

It’s not even that I don’t want to be separated from him. We’ve been parted a lot over the last eighteen years.

It’s something different.

I can’t put my finger on it.

It’s the end of something. It’s the beginning of something else.

And it’s the beginning of the end.

When Cole was born, when I held him in my arms eighteen summers ago, I honestly did not think about the fact that he would one day grow up and leave me.

I know that this is absurd.

I had flyers in my hospital packet reminding me to start a college fund for my new little baby, but we had years before that day would roll around.

All the time I hear people say they blinked and their child grew up.

Strangers said it to me when I juggled my little ones in the market.

And every hour on Facebook, someone says they can’t believe how the quickly babies have become little boys and girls.

My streams are full of this sentimental sap.

Timehops from two years ago where children have grown two feet.

It’s all around me. This growing up. This constant changing and letting go.

But it doesn’t matter.

This thing. This part where my oldest child is beginning a leaving home that will turn into a new kind of relationship.

This thing where I will have to become a new kind of parent.

This thing where suddenly I am the mom of an adult child for whom I can no longer dictate a dinnertime.

This thing is ripping me in places I did not know about.

No one told me when I got pregnant all those years ago how much this part would wreck me.

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