Sunday, April 26, 2015
Two weeks. In two weeks time...my baby will leave home. He will board a bus for Parris Island, SC and the next time I hug him, he will be a Marine.
People often think that the hardest time to be a single parent is in the really difficult times...they talk about the financial difficulties and the heartbreaks. But, in my experience at least, those are not the worst times. Every time we've gone through something really, really difficult we've had the support of amazing people who walked through it with us. When my daughter struggled with depression, people surrounded us with prayer, a mentor stepped forward and the mentor's mother called me on a regular basis. When my son went through a season of anger, there were guys hanging out with him, taking him fishing, building potato cannons (yes, those are actually a thing). When I lost my job and we were struggling financially, friends helped with money, food, gas...
It's the times you don't expect to be the least lonely that are...my daughter's first performance on stage, when the kids graduated high school (admittedly in the most non-traditional way possible) and when they started college. And now, when my son is preparing to leave home.
There is a mixture of extreme pride and at the same time sadness. And I long to look at someone next to me and say, "Look what we did. Look at the man he has become." But the person next to me is my daughter. And she needs me. She and her brother are so close and this is a difficult time for her. She cannot be and will not be the person who holds me when I break down after my son boards that bus (I am determined not to cry before then. I will be strong for him. When he looks back, I will be smiling and waving.)
This is not the fault of my friends. I am fully aware that I have been a single mother in the midst of a singularly amazing community. Few...I think very few...single parents are as fortunate and blessed to have the support that I have in the last fourteen years. There are just times when there is no substitute. And you think I would have become used to that...but not right now.
Last week we took a trip to Washington D.C. (one of our favorite places). We visited the Arlington Museum, the Marine War Memorial, the Smithsonian, and the Marine Museum. While at the Marine War Memorial, there was a moment where Trey was in the midst of two recent graduates from Naval boot camp, a group of veterans and the younger brother of one of the graduates wearing a Navy t-shirt. Embree looked at me and said "It's like he's leaving us for something bigger." And he is. That makes this simultaneously easier and more difficult.
Two weeks will go by way too fast. Last night we were watching a movie and I looked over and watched him laugh and I thought, "Can I freeze time right now?"
But I can't. So I will make the most of these two weeks. I will let him know every day that I will miss him like crazy but no one is more proud of him than me. That I support him in this choice.
That I love him more than words will ever express.