Yesterday’s bitter-sweet pang

To my sweet Man-Child,


It seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital, teaching you how to ride a bike, watching you play in your last hockey game, walking across the football field on senior night and then watching you walk across the stage to get your high school diploma.


I was walking through the produce department at the grocery store when you called. I thought you were calling to talk about coming home this weekend. I thought maybe your plans had changed, making it so you couldn’t come home. I thought wrong.


Your voice didn’t give much away. You were calm and steady. And then you told me your news. The internship you worked so hard for is yours! The pride. My unbridled pride flowed through the phone connection. You said it hadn’t quite hit you yet. But your excitement grew as we talked about your salary and where in the world this would take you, both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, this is the best starting point for your career. You landed an internship with a killer engineering firm. Literally, though, this opportunity is going to take to a place outside of Virginia. Away from home.


My voice bubbled with enthusiasm and excitement. This is what you worked so hard to achieve. My pride for you knew, and knows, no bounds. You are reaching for the stars, and working toward your dreams.


We said our good-byes and see-you-soons. I told you I couldn’t wait to see you, and then we disconnected. I stood staring off into space on the periphery of the bulk food section as I absorbed the tremendous impact our conversation had on me. My tears came unbidden and unwanted, and they couldn’t be stopped. I walked aimlessly through the aisles with tears trickling down my cheeks. I don’t think I’ve ever being more thankful for a sun-visor and long sleeves, as I wiped one set of tears, only to find them replaced by another. You’ll be going away next summer. You won’t be here working for Darren. You’ll be somewhere in the Southwest, working for someone else.


I realized that last summer may have been the last summer you’ll ever live at home. You’ve done this to me before…when I realized after the fact that the last season of hockey you played was your last season. You didn’t give me a head’s up or a “hey, Mom, I’m thinking of quitting hockey.” You just finished your last game, hung up your skates and moved on to the next thing. You didn’t give me time to “grieve” the thought of you leaving the ice rink. You just moved on. And yesterday, you did the same. You didn’t give me the time last summer to lament the thought of you leaving your room empty. You just worked for your dream. And I couldn’t be more proud.


I looked back on your childhood, teenage years and your young adulthood with a bitter-sweet pang. I love the child you were, and I couldn’t be more proud of the man you’ve become. My sweet Man-Child, the memories of your yesterdays are precious and all of the tomorrows before you are full of promise.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s