This was the sight that greeted me Wednesday morning just before I took my boy to school (an hour early) to drop him off for his first overnight, three day field trip. A four hour bus ride away form home. Sure, he’s stayed with my mom a few times over the years. But that was Omi, my mom, a person I know I can trust with my reasons for living – the three parts of my heart walking outside my body.
Now this. This was something different. This was something new. This was something that made me swallow a big lump just thinking about it.
So, after I dropped him off, with a quick hug and a quiet “Have fun, I love you.” Because you know, 12 year old boys don’t like any PDA from their mom in front of their buddies. I walked back to my car without glancing back. Keeping it together but feeling the knot – that slightly nauseous, slightly sick feeling – in my stomach grow. Of all the things to inherit from your mother – I got her nervous tummy!!!
Middle meanwhile was chattering away next to me excited for our bagel breakfast before school. A treat for her for having to get up extra early too.
After I dropped her off and got back home I got on Facebook and wrote this:
The comments I got weren’t exactly helpful but pretty much what was expected. How many of us moms go through this on a daily basis? How many of us feel this knot in our tummies when one of ours is not in the nest? I imagine there are few who feel differently.
My mom’s comment and also a conversation I had with my best friend made me think back to all the field trips, sleep-away summer camps and 2 six week trips I had to take to a health resort for treatment of my excema.
Back then we didn’t have cell phones, heck where I grew up we didn’t even have land lines. I think, the local police station and maybe the post office had a working phone and in an emergency someone had to run over there and have them call an ambulance. This was way back when the wall between East and West Germany was still firmly in place and the cold war at its height. And I was on the Communist, Russia controlled East German side.
How did my mom do it? She send me off for 6 weeks of treatment to the Baltic Sea on doctors orders when I was 5, maybe 6. Six weeks, people. With only sporadic contact through letters and postcards… I vaguely remember that trip, it was beautiful and I fell in love with the ocean (salt water is great for excema sufferers) – I don’t remember crying or being upset but having fun. I was on “vacation” after all. I even remember a package I received from my Kindergarten class and how special I felt.
Or the trip I went on when I was 15 – to London. Which entailed a 24 hour bus ride, a trip on a car ferry and a few more hours on the bus to a foreign country which language I barely spoke and understood?
But man, six weeks at age 5. My son was gone for 3 days at age 12 and he had a cellphone on him. I got a quick “Good Night” and a quick “Good Morning” each day and that made me feel 100% better. I knew, he was OK and had a great time being with his buddies, exploring and learning new things.
But the knot in my stomach remained. Maybe not quite as big as it was the first day but it was still there. Until, I saw the bus carrying my first born and his classmates, pulling into the school parking lot last night – 20 minutes late. Which I knew from a text he sent me.Otherwise, those 20 minutes probably would have felt more like 20 hours and the scenarios playing in my mind would have been pure torture. Both my girls were with me and they ran over, they couldn’t wait for their brother to come home. I walked, normally, when all I wanted to do was run faster than the wind, push the other moms out of the way and bound on the bus to pull my boy into my arms. So, the three of us stood there, a safe distance away from the doors and waited with the other moms in a huge circle. My boy was one of the first ones out and his little sister all of 4 years old couldn’t contain her excitement and ran into his arms for a big hug. You should have heard the “Awwws!” coming from the other moms. So cute.
I helped him get his luggage, let him say goodbye to his buddies and off we went to find my car. Once we had some room I finally grabbed him for a quick hug. I needed it and maybe he did too. He didn’t pull away from me after all. All I kept thinking was “I got my boy back!” and all three parts of my heart together again.
I couldn’t help but take a picture of him in the car on our way to McDonald’s because he was famished and in immediate need of some nourishment. I was so happy to feel the knot in my stomach dissolve that I would have done anything to make him happy at that point.
Last night, I found him passed out in his gaming chair and it was the sweetest sight I’ve seen in a while. I fell asleep with a smile on my face.