Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Nick called about twenty minutes ago to tell me they'd arrived in Dumas for the evening. Our conversation was short. You could hear the tiredness that comes from six hours on the road (with another 8 tomorrow) that is like nothing else. 

It struck me, in our snippet of conversation, what's at the core of my melancholy.

I said, "The house is too quiet." 

And he responded, "I'm sorry" with a hint of sadness behind the exhaustion. 

"That's just how it goes. I love you." 

"I love you, too."

And so it goes.

He's gone. Again.

He stays gone for long periods now. 

The first time I was driving behind him, both of our cars loaded up for his first dorm room at UNC, those hot tears welled up with the realization that, every visit from here on out, will be only temporary. The goodbyes will always outnumber the days at home. 

Because while my heart has grown tendrils around him from the moment I heard his heartbeat inside my belly, my baby boy has been growing apart from me, into a man who will make his own home somewhere else. 


I say this, silently, religiously, as a prayer to quiet my surging, sad heart, over and over.

That's just how it goes.

I don't hear from him for weeks at a time. Then he'll call and catch me up on what's been happening, but it's always, and always, farther and farther away from knowing him in the day to day ways that once were our intertwined lives.

The day they sent me home from the hospital with him, I had a momentary seizure of panic: "They can't believe I'm capable of being responsible for this tiny human being!" 

And those newborn days (and nights) dragged on, sleep deprived, colicky, teething moments punctuated by the biggest, sweetest smiles and giggles that made every slow second worth it.

Lots of days dragged, and so many years flew by. 

I saw it happening, of course, as every mother does. And, as every mother knows, there is no stopping it. 

There is only acceptance. 

I accept that most of his life I am no longer privy to.

I accept that our time together will always be short now . . . temporary, but precious.

I accept, or am trying to accept, that this seemingly bottomless sadness at his absence will spike right after his departures and then level off to an easier to manage hole in my heart, until the next joyous reunion, when the cycle will begin all over again. 

And so it goes, and so it goes.


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