“Give the ones you love
wings to fly,
roots to come back,
and reasons to stay.”
– Dalai Lama
There are defining moments and sometimes they happen at the local Walmart. What? Really? Could I have picked a nicer image – like a blossoming garden or magnificent mountain top, perhaps? Nope, not me. When you find tears welling up by the bread aisle because the sight of honey wheat bread brings back memories of the lil’ munchkins making PB & J, you know it’s time to get a grip.
I was warned many years ago, once all the children leave the nest, “the silence is deafening.” I never would have believed it. But now I have felt it.
The last month with Karina at home felt like she had already left. She would stay out, maximizing every waking moment, with her friends. It was actually okay because it prepared me. Or so I thought. I didn’t think I would be sad because I could tell she was ready to go. After dropping her off at college on the West coast this past weekend, I woke up to an empty room. I laid quietly at the foot of her bed, wondering where that adorable “hammy” toddler went. I sifted through her memory books with a bag of mixed emotions. Sigh.
I completely understand what my in-laws feel every time they drop us off at the airport. They are the ones that squeeze every second with us before boarding the plane, tear-stricken faces pasted against the glass window. (This is, of course, when they allowed all guests through security). I used to think it was bizarre – the letting go – but now I get a glimpse of what they see. It’s not their 47 year old son they miss, it’s that little boy they long for.
In silence, I am more aware of their absence and wish I had more moments with the three kids swinging at the park or playing in the sandbox. I miss their beautiful innocence and long for their bumbling laughter. Yet, I know it’s time to let go, letting them find their own happiness even if it means, sometimes, watching through a glass window.