Felt the chill in the air far more powerfully today than I have in quite a few. I had the day off and was done with my newsletter stuff for The Wine Country so I had the entire day to just lounge around, get lost in my thoughts and focus on the part of my life that does not intertwine with the store. These are rare days these completely out of the store days, I’m a front of the house manager type so even when I’m not walking the floor my thoughts, ideas, stresses and concerns are with me if I’m on the clock or not. That store has quite literally saved me on a number of occasions so it is one of the first things I think about when my mind starts it whirling in the morning and slips in between the, “Just for me” thoughts that lull me to sleep. The one time I allow myself a total day off is when I have sent all my verbiage in for the newsletter.
Today was one of those days.After hearing that my standing date night with my adorable neighbor had to be canceled I kicked into cooking mode. Compiled a list and almost without thinking devised a plan for dinner…one that I had not cooked in almost fifteen years but rattled off the list of needed items as if it was a dish I had been making every week for like ever. Seven bone chuck roast, the makings for salsa and tortillas. I was making my mother’s burritos, the ones I had not made or thought about in years, yet here were the ingredients, cooking times and assembly instructions floating around in my work-less mind. Why? Why that dish right now?
“Do you think it would be okay if I stayed a couple months longer, just to save up some money and watch the seasons change one more time?” just part of an email I got from my soon to be graduating son. Jeremy, My Jeremy is about to be handed his degree. Every time I tell people that ask about him that he is about to graduate they all say the same thing, “Oh My God. Has it been four years already?!” and I stand there, grinning but feeling the weight of a heart that has been Jeremy-less for four really long freaking years. Yeah, it’s been four years, four long years without his smile, chuckle and touch. To everyone else it might seem as if the time flew but for his mother, well it has felt like an eternity. The “do you think?” email was heart wrenching but not in the way you might assume.
When that amazing kid…..man, first stepped foot on the campus in Louisville I knew. I can read that face as if it were my own and as we passed the brick buildings and lush patches of lawn my favorite reading material was speaking loud and clear, “Time to fly, it’s my time to fly”. He took weeks to tell me which school he was choosing but I had begun preparing myself, as best I could…I knew. And the past four years have also been a time of emotional preparation for me, preparing for the very real possibility that my son, the man that now wears my face, might choose to continue the life he has started building there in Louisville. I’ve waffled over the years, going back and forth between being adamant that he would return home, just knowing that the call of family, the near perfect weather and his history would be too much to deny, and facing the reality that he now has a life and history there as well. It’s never been easy for me but here’s the thing, it’s not about me. Never was and never should be.
As I sat in our home tonight, the smell of our history hanging thick and rich in the air, I thought about Jeremy’s email and started to cry. It’s not the coming to terms with his wanting to stay, however long he stays, I have been building a support around my silly heart for that. No, it was the sweetness and concern for me and my feelings in what I’m sure is one of the most terrifying and confusing times of his life. I could feel him so powerfully, feel his once tiny hand in mine, the furry brow I used to kiss, see those beautiful brown eyes filling with tears whenever he would see someone else cry….thousands of miles could never separate us, he is always here with me. Always.
So to my beloved son I would like to say this one thing, and I need you to hear me. The only sure way to break my heart is for you not to follow your own….
I’m fine baby, how could I not be fine when I get to wear the pride that is being your mother every single day? You have given me so much Jeremy, more than you will ever truly understand and more than my feeble attempt at writing will ever be able to convey. My heart doubled that July morning almost 22 years ago and has continued to grow, flourish and gain strength just by watching you become the man that you are. You have given me the strength that I will call on when the missing you gets too painful. I will visit with you through the smells in my kitchen, the pride in my step and the years of laughter we have shared….the waiting for the volumes more to come.Take those months my sweet and loving son, take all the time you want and need. That front door is just like this heart that you helped build, wide open and simply waiting for your return.
It’s your time Jeremy
Your time to fly
It is such a pleasure to watch you soar….
I love you baby
You are the reason I am the woman I am and I could not possibly be more proud of you.