Mike is all packed up and ready to go. We have had a family focused weekend. I planned one of Mike's favorite meals, chicken pie, for dinner Saturday. I organized a game night on Saturday night with Jay's sisters and brother-in-law with Mike's favorite dessert.(apple crisp) Then we had a 'going away' cookout on Sunday with our parents and 2 of our sisters....complete with special burgers, taco dip, sweet and sour keilbasa, and 'Grandma's cake'!(Which Peter was especially excited about although he kept asking whose birthday it was! He just couldn't get the concept of a 'going away party'.)
It's hard to believe that this day has arrived. I have to admit that the bumps and challenges in our relationship with Mike over the last 6 months or so have definitely made it easier to face this day. There have been lots of stressful, emotion filled moments when I have counted down the days until his departure and the peace it would bring to our house.
These last few months have been a struggle to say the least!
The last few days, Mike has been a calm, happy person. His attitude has been a much needed reprieve from the emotional roller coaster ride we have been on for months. Unfortunately, a few days of normalcy does not take away all of the hurt from the past few months.
It is a step towards some healing.
As I helped him pack....help he actually asked for...it is such a bittersweet time. I am happy for him to be taking this step in his life, reaping the benefits of his hard work over the last two years.
At the same time, I can't believe that our first child is leaving the nest. We will no longer see him everyday...no longer have that feeling of safety and peace every night that everyone is home and in bed and everything is as it should be. We are walking into a 'new normal'....and that will take all of us a while to get used to.
This stage of letting go is similar to childbirth in a lot of ways.....it's filled with as many emotional ups and downs and is painful in a different way. Just as I labored to give birth and celebrated our physical separation in order to lay my eyes on the new little person, so have these last several months been a labor of it's own as Mike has struggled to reach another type of physical and emotional separation. Now he is mere hours away from starting a life that is unfamiliar to me in a place where I will only get occasional glimpses into his new world.
That isn't easy....
The shorthand of my life with Michael is the first natural birth, to the first day home, to a brief re-hospitalization for jaundice, to his first cough that kept me up at night for days because I was terrified he would stop breathing, to countless ordinary days of play, snacks, meals, and love that seemed endless but have passed by in the blink of an eye! It is filled with graduations and sacraments and baseball and basketball games. There are moments of shopping and zoo trips and vacations. All of my memories...and days I have forgotten...have delivered us to this place. It is the eve of our firstborn's move out of our home.
I pray that he makes good decisions...and that the bad decisions are learning moments without any serious repercussions. I pray that he will be safe, work hard, meet good friends, and figure out who he is and who he is meant to be.
It's not easy to let go. It's also not easy knowing that I have to do this 'letting go' many more times!
Tomorrow will come....I will deliver him to his new life....and we will both have a new beginning.