Saturday, July 7, 2012

Next Chapter

My Dearest Son,

Woke this morning with an odd mix of emotions. This tummy churning combination of heartache and anxiety mixed with excitement, elation and sadness. The kind of feeling that isn’t quite strong enough to wake you up with that frightening panic and just removed enough to assure me that it wasn’t really even my own. This morning I woke to the beat of my mom heart and it was you baby, you and your heart that were stirring inside me, nudging me to rise with my hand placed across my heart in some effort to soothe the pounding, eyes filling with tears as my sleepy voice whispered, “Aw baby, this must be so hard” Even from 2100 miles away our love strong enough to rustle my resting soul, your steps nearly visible to me, your own churning so powerful that even without words they changed the pace of my heartbeat and flipped that switch deep inside me that demands I protect you, make everything hurt just a little less. The distance between us, those thousands of miles, feeling like scratchy rope bound around my wrists, holding me back and keeping me from doing what every fiber in my being is telling me I need to do…wrap my arms around you and assure you that everything is going to be alright and we are so very proud of the young man that you are.

I knew five years ago when we stepped on the gorgeous campus with its lush rolling lawns, massive brick structures and faces in varying shades, all smiling and greeting us, I knew. I could feel your young heart beating then too my son, beating in a way that let me know that while this was going to feel at times like my own heart might break, that place was where you wanted to be, where you would grow and change in ways that for the first would not involve your family, that this next chapter in your life would be there in Louisville, without me. It’s times like these I do wish I were an actual writer, that I were able to articulate what absolute parenthood feels like, the way your child’s happiness becomes a force larger than yourself, how the part of me that cares for only me, was hoping, begging that you wouldn’t even consider living so far away from home….from me, but this other part, a much bigger and more powerful part, was not only encouraging you to follow your dreams it was absolutely beaming with pride that I raised a child strong enough, courageous enough to move so far away from home, tackle life with both strong arms and do so on his own. Odd feeling, that being split in two like that and I can tell you, both sides feel big enough to be a person on their own, but in the end the battle between selfishness and selflessness, the inner argument of, “But I want” and “But he wants” the mother in me will win every time. When we got on the plane to return home from our visit to the campus of the University of Louisville I knew….knew it wouldn’t be the last time I would board a plane in that city, the two pieces of me battling inside me, my heart breaking a little and my pride making each step a little easier. 

You and I have talked a little about what leaving Louisville feels like. I’ve marveled in your ability to share with me an experience that I’ve never known. Leaving your family, living on your own, working and going to school full time while making friends, creating a new family of sorts, spending holidays at a table with faces you haven’t watched change over the decades, how that feels, the ups and downs, you’ve been an articulate and colorful orator Jeremy. You’ve continued to share your life with me, include me in ways that only you know will touch and move me. For that I will be eternally grateful. You can’t possibly know, not yet anyway, what that scratchy rope feels like and each one of those stories and inclusions loosened them enough to keep me from screaming. And now, I promise you my handsome son, these ears are here and this very open heart is ready to feel the next chapter in the Story of Jeremy, my favorite story of all time. 

I can’t know how hard it must be to leave a job where you loved and were given the opportunity to advance, despite your age, and were put in charge, drive past the school that won your heart on one visit and where you earned your diploma, have your last drink in the bar where you and your friends would take up tables for hours at a time, laughing, drinking, solving the world’s problems in boozy 3:00 AM discussions. Five years of your life being loaded into boxes, taped shut and packed in an overloaded 93 Camry, to turn in the keys to the home you shared with the people, the family, you are now, much like we were five years ago, having to hug and say goodbye to. I can’t know how that feels baby, but I can and will proudly listen as you tell me….

I woke this morning to your sadness but I feel some of my own as well. I too am both going to miss, and forever be indebted to Louisville. The way you we welcomed there. The amazingly sweet and intellectual friends you made there. The stunningly green lushness and thick damp air. Knowing you and the man you have become because of your time there. I’ve been a lot of very cool places but none of them will ever mean as much to me as your Louisville Jeremy. None. Having the person I love most in the world so far away has never been easy. Figuring out how to hold you as tight as I can without smothering or stunting you, that was hard too. Trying to figure out who I am, without your needing me, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done baby, but it was because of you, your strength, love and support, it was you that made me strong enough to do it. I admire you Jeremy, I truly do. I know how those people in Louisville feel watching you pull away from the curb, old car loaded with the boxes containing your life, the burgundy car with the missing hubcaps getting smaller and smaller as it is being driven away by one of the most amazing people they will ever meet. I’ve been there and part of my stirring heart this morning is for them as well. Goodbye Louisville…man, do I owe you one.

Who knows where this next chapter will take you my son. The new people you’ll meet, the new jobs, the new home and new bar for late night boozy chats. I wish I could make the saying goodbye easier for you but it’s not even those binding ropes that hold me back this time…it’s my confidence in you. You are a remarkably smart and strong young man, capable of handling this on your own and that right there, one of the greatest and most powerful feelings I’ve ever known. You are my gift Jeremy and I am grateful, every day, that I get to know and love you, be loved by you in return. Thank you my dear son, not sure there is ever going to be a way for me to rightfully repay you but, I can promise you that when you drive past The Arch in Saint Louis, speed through Amarillo Texas, sail past those gorgeous red rocks in Arizona, thinking of all the faces and people, the life you just left, that there is a woman sitting in your childhood home, tears in her eyes, heart near bursting ready to say, “Welcome home baby”.

Drive safe my sweet son
Home is here waiting
I love you so,


Sara Louise said...

You're getting your baby back!!!

Do Bianchi said...

it's so important for kids growing up in So Cal to get away and see what life is like in other parts of the U.S. As much as I love our native So Cal (and I know you know how much I do!), visiting and living in other parts of America when I was a kid really changed my perspective on things... a lot of things... I know that your Jeremy will take those years at school with him wherever he goes... Tracie P and I talked a lot about education last night (after we saw a show on 60 minutes about kids in elementary school and "red shirting"... oy!). Jeremy's got all his ducks lined up in a row and I can't help but feel the excitement of his "next chapter"... he's so lucky to have a happy loving family to come home to... and we're all lucky to have you too... :) I hope I get to meet him on one of my trips to CA this summer! I guess he won't be passing through Austin but you know he has a couch to sleep on, a hot meal, and a cold beer (or glass of Chablis) if he does! :)

Samantha Dugan said...

After two days driving nearly 16 hours each Jeremy made it home around 11:00 last night. Totally different kind of reunion than any of the visits. And I can say that I don't think I've seen him so happy in years....and that's saying a lot because he is an extremely happy human. I made him a big dinner to come home to, I made our traditional Thanksgiving, turkey, stuffing mashed potatoes even the tiny sweet pickles. He hadn't had one of those around here in at least five years. Maybe not the best choice for cooking on a warm evening, (fuck, was I sweaty!) but just felt right. We stayed up talking until after 3:00 and my heart full.

Couldn't agree more. My sweet son has changed, grown, because of his time away and I can't help but think part of that is living alone in a place that is not home. Louisville ended up being a great fit for Jeremy, which is why I thought he may not want to move back to California but....after talking to him in the wee morning hours he told me, "Oh Ma, I always knew I was going to come home" which is a tremendous feeling. And you never know, he may in fact find himself traveling through Austin and you know that I will be giving him the contact info of my dear friend and his lovely girls.

Thank you both for indulging me with this "Mommy Post" was starting to feel a little silly so your comments mean a lot. Hugs to both of you for a Very Happy Lady.

Unknown said...

Lovely post. And while your graduate moves home, ours moves away. sigh...

Samantha Dugan said...

Well welcome and thank you so much. Fear I chased a bunch of people off, (even got a letter expressing as much) with this but I kind of don't care. One of the highlights of my damn life having Jeremy return home so dammit, I'm going to share it.

I feel ya on that moving away business and while I don't know you or your child, or how far they might be going, just know that it does get easier and they will miss you just as much as you miss them. Home is a feeling unlike any other. Hang in there and be proud...helps the aching a little.

Selyndria said...

See, I look at the name of your blog and see it as SAMANTHA No Sugary Sweetness. Maybe I'm literal... whatever.

But I see this as a blog about you. Your life, your passions, no sugar added to mitigate the bad, just plain straight-up pleasure, pain, racy, silly goodness. You include your views on your work, your family, your relationships and your loves (wine, son, hubby, customers, friends, etc). That makes your blog exciting to read.

Yours is the only one I follow. I make a friend of mine alert by email to any journal piece she's written that might interest me. That doesn't happen often because she's kind enough to not overuse it. I've set yours to feed through my iGoogle because your interests and passions are fully expressed as Life Happens.

I love my friend but minutiae is just not pretty or exciting. But TOOTSIE ROLL FOSSILS ARE!!!!

Samantha Dugan said...

Yay! A fan of the Tootsie Roll post! Thank you so much for your kind words of support and I hope I can continue to entertain you with my silly shit here from time to time.