He brought it downstairs to show me last night–a fat, blue square package wrapped in clear plastic, a blue and white tassel on top, with a metallic ’11 dangling on the side.
“It’s becoming real, isn’t it?” he said. Usually quick with the snark, I was rendered speechless. No tears either, go figure. But it was real enough.
I brushed back the hair covering his eyes and remembered for a second.. Remembered how when he was a baby and sleeping through the night, I’d go into his room and purposefully nudge him.. just enough to wake him.. so I could provide snuggles and rock him back to sleep. I knew he would be the last, and by the fifth time at bat, I also knew these moments would soon be in the wind.
Tears will come later.. much later. There will be that whole letting go business I’ve never been very good at. Plus, I anticipate a few heavy sighs of relief after a solid 35 years of raising children. But mostly, right now at least, it’s about this boy.. this moment. These last months of that true child-at-home time that’s never quite the same after they leave and come back.. Ask anyone.. it’s just not.
The cap and gown are just a representation.. but they’re stark reminders that my days, weeks and months with this one are ending. He’ll get on with his life.. the one he’s anticipated (a good thing), and I’ll get him to myself sometimes, he’ll visit for brief periods, we’ll talk about the past, we’ll eat favorite food and joke around with each other.. but it won’t be like old times, not really.
Bittersweet, this cap and gown business..