There is this thing that I've done as a parent. I've never been able to put my finger on it until just this moment. I'm defining it as "watching you go". I've been a mother for over 20 years and since the moment my children were born I've been watching them leave me. I don't believe that the sadness of it hit me until just today.
When our first child was born I watched him move out of my body and into his father's hands. I was so filled with relief from the pain of childbirth that I did not recognize the truth in that moment. The world already took hold of that tiny being and each day of his life was like drawing back a bowstring to get ready to launch him toward his own life. The thought of it makes me feel insignificant in the plan of the universe.
Every day since their birth I have watched my children go. I watched the beautiful breastfeeding boys grow and eventually reach for that sippy cup. I could see them change from babies in diapers to boys in Spider-Man underpants. I can still hear the singing as they shook their little butts and danced in their smarty-pants. It has always been a joy to watch them become who they are meant to be.
I really believed that I was blessed with wisdom as I watched them mature into the men that they are but I was missing the vital part. I lost sight of the truth that as they grew up they also grew away. Don't misunderstand, I have no regrets because I got all those moments as an at home mother; but the reality is that we make life so that we can watch it go. I liked the days when I knew where my children were, when I had the final say in how they lived their lives. That's limited now as they go away to school and venture out in the world.
I don't want to go back to the tiny boy times. We've mostly outgrown the Lego room and the veggie tale adventures, but it is still beautiful when I close my eyes and remember them. I've watched many people go in my life. I've watched friends leave me forever and some for a short time. It can be painful and the finality of loss shakes me. This may be our last time together, I think every time I release that goodbye hug. The truth always coming back to that moment when I realize that I've always been watching you go.