September 10, 2015

journey to a smile...

The pains started about two weeks ago. The clutch in my chest. The sting of tears behind my eyes. He is really leaving...

We were in the kitchen starting dinner and I told Eric I'm starting to get sad. With love and knowing in his eyes, he replied I was wondering when, and he kissed the top of my head. We both know life will be different with our easy-going, adventurous son half-way across the country.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

The breathing is working, the sadness has been shoved back behind the to-do list. Even his almost empty room seems okay. But today, the pains return stronger and closer together. Familiar... and I realize the laboring wasn't really over eighteen Decembers ago.  That finally now, almost nineteen years later, I must be prepared for that final push.

He leans his head onto my shoulder and it has a sweetness that seems to move me more than all the times I could hold all of him in my arms.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

Three farewell dinners, and between grandparents, we celebrated Friday pizza on a Wednesday. An ordinary evening in the mist of an extraordinary week. It is just what we needed. And those two... they sat and visited and played video games between slices, just as they have for twelve years. Boys to men. They wished each other well and sealed their friendship with a firm handshake.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

The list still lingers and Eric is out mowing the lawn. Cam and I find jobs we can do while we watch the last episode of Food Network Star. He looks at me sitting on the floor folding laundry and pats the seat beside him. For a moment I am torn, because the list, but I come to my senses and join him on the couch. It is only seconds before he leans fully into me, his head fitting just right into the crook of my neck. My chest is crushed with love and I try to hide my gasp for breath... and one lone tear escapes, leaving the others to burn. The mower continues to make loops around the yard and I feel almost guilty for sitting, but oh I cannot give up these minutes. Surely I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
In. Out. Just keep breathing.

Cam, are you ready for this adventure? he asks as we pull out of the driveway and begin the drive north. Of course he answers the only way he knows how Yes! It makes me smile knowing this is the honest truth. But when the next question comes from Eric, I pinch back tears. Is mom ready? I say Yes, because I want nothing to come between my son and his dreams.

The Iowa sunshine welcomed us to the land of corn, and we laughed as we put miles behind us. There is always fun to be had on a road trip. And then I saw the sign, Mount Vernon 8 miles, and all of the tears I had been holding back for weeks could not be held a moment longer.


He was good to me. He smiled for every picture; he let me take as many as I wanted. And then it was time... to say goodbye. I took his face in my two hands and repeated the goodbye I've uttered a million times before Make good choices, be YOU, I love you...

As he walked off into the sunshine, I saw him as the man he has become... and it made me smile.


Southern Gal said...

You've made me cry this afternoon. And smile through the tears. Such a touching post, Dawn. I love you.

kim said...

I'm having trouble breathing in and out because I am crying so hard. You know, I am already beginning to push back my own is it possible? I have TWO years? I know that you are probably wishing you had two more years with Cam at home, but I am already thinking that it is going to pass in a blink of an eye. It's funny, because already I have walked away from my everyday to-do lists the minute I see the chance to spend time with Madelyn. Time is so fleeting. The lists and chores can wait. They can wait until I drop Nora off for all I care!
Thank you again for opening your heart, Dawn. xoxo

Richella Parham said...

Oh, golly. Now I am crying. You know why.

Here, I'll breathe along with you. In. Out.

Love you!

Pamela said...

No words sweet cousin just trying to breathe in and out with you across the miles. Xoxo

Dawn said...

thank you dear friend... i love you right back. i felt your prayers across the miles xo

Unknown said...

Dawn, gracious goodness. I'm in a waterfall of tears over here. What a beautiful blog post. So proud of you momma (and dad) You've raised a special young man. He will soar like the Eagle he is. Lists can wait, those 'pat on the couch' moments can't! (I think this makes up for the no Lego-themed party curve ball! Wink wink!) XOXO

Mindy said...

Oh, Dawn such a time of transition for you. Prayers as you continue to breathe in and out. May God hold you close.

Pam said...

This is one of our best posts ever. So touching and just so perfectly says what we feel as our littles grow up. Sigh. I'm glad the tears fell but even more glad that you could smile when the time came. You did your job well, mama and he is on his way. Hugs and love to you adjust to a new normal! : )

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