“I have to meet with the sergeant tomorrow for a 45 day check in.” His voice echoed from the couch where he sat.
I stopped in my tracks glad to be hidden in the kitchen as those words came out of his mouth. “45 days?” I knew what I had to do. “I can’t believe it! Wow, that’s great!”
Less than 45 days. That’s how much time he has left here before he leaves for basic training. I can either greet this information with grief or excitement. It’s up to me, and yet what I do makes a world of difference to us all.
As I have said, my heart breaks a little when I think of him gone. Close relationships do that to you. When you invest yourself into someone else there is a ripping when the inevitable happens. Friends sometimes take different paths. Children have to grow up and move on. As a mother I want the best for my son and I have the responsibility to usher him into the next stage of life with excitement and hope. Tears and heartache can happen later when he’s not around.
All change brings with it a sense of loss for what was, and we aren’t denying the pain of loss in this situation. It has been addressed so he is not caught unaware himself. Yet, I feel strongly my actions will set the tone for his future (and his future relationship with us). I want him to know my excitement for him outweighs the self-pity loss I have for myself.
I remember my in-laws crying at my wedding. You can tell the difference between happy tears and tears of loss. It could have been who my husband married, but giving the benefit of the doubt, years after the fact, I can imagine it was over the loss of what had been. At the time it startled me, and tears filled my own eyes. I frantically looked to my own mother who was in the room with us. She firmly but kindly looked me in the eyes and said, “No. This is a happy occasion.” I turned my back to the tears, both theirs and my own. My mother gave me the freedom to enjoy the step I was taking.
This is who I want to be for my son. I am sure my mother’s heart was breaking a little as she watched her daughter become someone’s wife. Did she remember me as a young girl? As the first baby she held who was hers? I can only assume so since it’s what we mommas do. However, she taught me something in that moment which I am now trying to live out. If I let the loss I feel grow out of control it will diminish the joy my son should have.
He will do marvelous things but how we take these first steps will make a huge difference on the course which follows. I don’t take that lightly.