I’m zipping along, buying presents online, wrangling the tree that’s a little on the skinnier side this year, and opening the Christmas cookie can filled with goodies, sneaking a bite or two.
ALL OF A SUDDEN it hits me out of nowhere.
That odd feeling that has pangs of grief intertwined with downright disbelief.
I won’t be seeing my son this year for Christmas.
My son. My actual flesh-and-blood son whose tiny body I held on my bare skin just moments after he was forcepped out of my birth canal.
The boy that wrapped himself around my legs, refusing to step into his nursery school class.
The “too-cool-for-school,” chain-around-the-neck (with the green marks to prove it) preteen.
My very own guitar-playing, camera-toting, lacrosse-eyed 16-going-on-21-year-old who would scream “Hey Mom!” into the bleachers, not caring who was around.
The young man who lived in my basement after college, couches littered with his friends who called our house their “second home.”
I won’t be seeing him this year.
He has chosen (and rightfully so) to go with his beloved to see her family.
I get it.
I did the exact same thing when I was navigating all that weird “who do we visit this year?” choices of the young adult.
But it doesn’t make it easy.
He’s still my baby boy in all.the.ways.
You get it.
I know you get it.
But who said this mom gig was easy?
No one ever.
It’s so dang hard.
We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into when we see those TWO LINES on the little screen.
No idea how much we are going to love this human.
No idea how good it’s going to feel often.
No idea how awful the constant goodbyes are (to seasons and to them).
No idea how wonderful and complicated and messy and beautiful it ALL IS.
The pangs and disbelief will show up out of nowhere in the next couple of weeks.
I’m ready for them. Kind of. I’ll cry for sure.
But you know what?
I’m really glad for them.
It means what we have is good.
He’s one of my people.
It’s how I always wanted it to be.
Lest you think we’ve got it all “going on,” I can promise you that it wasn’t always this way.
During his rough senior year, I was counting down the days until he left for college. I almost made a paper chain (it was that rough).
But now, thanks to the very kind God above, and a lot of keeping my mouth shut and my heart open, I might just make a whole different paper chain, one that counts down the days until I see him again.
Right now, it’s most likely 99.
It will be 98 tomorrow.
I can hear the sound of paper ripping.