On Leaving

Tate and I left his Thomas the Tank Engine CD at Bryan’s on Sunday night. He’s been begging for it, and I wanted to have it for our ride to the Teddy Bear Train on Friday, so I needed to go over to B’s and pick it up. I opted to have my sweet sweet neighbor run over and stay with Tate after he fell asleep while I drove the 5 minutes to Bryan’s to get it.

Of course Tate chose tonight to not fall asleep easily.  Kristin was scheduled to be here around 7:45/8 since he’s usually out by 7:45. I laid him down just before 8 with strict instructions to go to sleep. His eyes were closed.

Kristin arrived;  I left. I was home within 20 minutes. I came up the stairs to the living room where I left Kristin watching tv. She wasn’t around. The bathroom door was wide open. I heard hiccuping and crying through the video monitor.

I ran upstairs and sweet Kristin was laying down with Tate who was sweaty and beyond upset. Poor Kristin felt awful, I felt worse, and Tate was a blubbering mess. I got everyone all situated, hugged Kristin good-bye, and got Tate the  requested water. He asked me to rock him a bit, so I did after telling him I had gone to get his CD and that I wouldn’t be leaving again. He was thrilled about having his CD back and crawled up into my arms and we rocked for a while. I put him back in bed. Twenty minutes later he was still awake, so I went up and laid with him and again promised I wasn’t leaving. He didn’t fall asleep until 9:15.

As I leaned over to kiss him good-night I promised him as he slept that I would never leave him. That I’d always be there. As I swept my hands across his gorgeous curls I realized that though I never intend to leave him, he will leave me one day. He will grow up and walk out of our home, our life as we know it and become his own man. This child whom I absolutely adore and love more than anyone else on this earth will leave me if I do this most important job right.  

I want to bottle up this love we have for one another at this point in time to bring it back out and cuddle with it on his first night at sleep away camp, his first night at college, his first night in his new home in a new city. I cannot fathom this child, this person not being with me forever and ever. How on earth did my parents ever, ever let me go? How? I cannot imagine doing that. And I know there will be times I’ll be ready to show him the door, pack his bags and gas up his car. Heck there have been those times already (good grief those 3s!!!)! But I never meant it, because I knew it wasn’t happening. As summer comes to a close and I’m seeing the local teenagers heading off to their freshman year of college, I see their moms gaze at them surreptitiously while they aren’t looking. Or I hear the wistfulness in their voices when I ask where they’re going to college next year. And I think…

I cannot do that. I will not be able to do that.  

Tonight for the very first time I had that all-encompassing feeling of love for Tate that almost suffocated my soul;  it almost broke my heart how much love I have for him. It came over me like a blanket that I couldn’t get off of my head it was so heavy and powerful. All the while I was saying to myself “Please don’t leave me.”

I laid there in the bed with him, cuddling him close and realizing that each day that passes, each day we’re together, each of these days brings us closer to the day he grows up and thinks he doesn’t need me.  

So my prayer tonight is that I learn to live in the moment. Rejoice in our togetherness right this very minute. Hope that the next time he says “Hey Mom! Come see this! Ta-Da!” that I don’t say “I’ll be right there, I gotta finish fill-in-the-blank (dishes, vacuuming, emailing, whatever I’m doing or getting ready to do) and that I get up and go look! Because my right theres frequently turn into 20 minutes because I’m such a taskmaster and then he’s moved on or gotten quiet because the most important person in his world didn’t think he was most important…the dishes were. And I know, I know I don’t have to jump and say how high each and every time he asks me to help or do something. But I do know that I don’t jump right up nearly often enough. Because he just wants 1 minute of my attention. There will come a time in 20 years when I’ll just want one minute of his attention. I’ll know how he feels pretty soon.  

Leaving. Letting Go. Two of the hardest things to do in this human life. There’s really no pain like being left or having to let go.  

So I feel for sweet Tate tonight. He undoubtedly felt like he’s been left (and lied to). I do hope he realizes though that though I did indeed leave, that I came back.

I came back.

Mommy came back.

I’ll always come back.  

I am not about to let go.



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