The boys were up and preparing for school. I had called them and heard them moving upstairs. The kitchen light was on and the table set: my attempt to diminish the absence of their mother who was traveling on business. Mowgli has the most difficulty when ED is gone and scowled even when I offered him his favorite bacon. Blue Boy has learned to feign sociability, leaning his head toward me when I offered a hug.
When they were ready to leave, I was at the door to wish them well. Mowgli
allowed me to embrace him as he left early to have time to play with friends before school. In typical teen boy fashion, Blue Boy allowed no time to spare, acknowledging my “Go with God” blessing as I opened the door for him.
Dragging his book bag across the patio and into the yard, Blue Boy walked with bowed head, his eyes on his phone. And there it was, a flashing stab of deep love teamed with memories of each of my children as they walked away at various times in their lives. First day of school, going out with friends, high school commencement, college, wedding, moving out, and hundreds of other separations. The pain of letting go while wanting to hang on. The pain of pride in their independence but longing for their dependence. The pain of loving them more than anything and more than they can ever love you.