I saw you today.
We talked a bit. It was awkward and a little strained. We both wanted to talk, but words didn't come easily. We talked about the day, about school, about whatever we could. I longed to squeeze your frame and tell you how much it hurt to let you go. But I tried to be the adult and continue the conversation light-heartedly and smile. I hope my eyes told you that I love you.
I loved you then. I love you now.
It's been 8 years since you moved out and I guess I'm still not completely healed. I mean, I think I am. But I'm not. My heart still aches. I suppose it always will. I still see you curled in my lap, tears running down your cheeks as we tried to distract ourselves with a Scooby-Doo movie. Neither of us were really watching it, but we needed the background noise. I sniffled & kissed the top of your head a hundred times and whispered "I love you. I love you. I love you." over and over. I wasn't sure if I'd ever see you again and I wanted to make sure you knew. And wouldn't ever forget. It was as if I said it over and over it would somehow soak into your pores and stay locked inside you forever.
When you and your brother left, I didn't think I'd ever stop hurting. I guess I haven't. It's like a death, really. You don't ever forget. You just learn how to move on with your life. I have. I don't dwell on it all the time. But now and then, it hurts just as fresh as it did then. I know it hurt you far more to move again. Being uprooted, switching schools, learning a new place, making new friends, getting comfortable in a new home.
It makes me so happy to know that you're nearly grown and you're doing so well. I know it should make me happy that you barely remember us. You were so little when you left. I get it. You've grown so much since then and you're really home now. That's as it should be. They've raised you and done a beautiful job of it. You're healthy, smart, happy. That makes me so richly, abundantly joyful.
There are still drawings hanging in my kitchen, right where you hung them 8 years ago. I have never had the heart to take them down. Maybe removing the magnets and putting them away means you weren't ever mine, even if for a little while. And I don't want to give you up completely. For a little while, you were my child. One of your pictures made in preschool while you were here still hangs in a frame. I'm proud of who you are and what you've become. Preschool was ages ago and high school is your home now. Hours away from here. With your family and your friends.
I hope you know that you'll always be a part of my life, even if I'm not in yours. And I hope, as you fall asleep tonight, you can still hear me whispering "I love you. I love you. I love you."
4 years ago