I try not to think too much about N going away to college on Friday. I'm taking him to NY on the trusty JetBlue and I will return on Sunday without him. When it does come up, a small lump appears in my throat and I have to suck my cheeks in order to prevent the tears from welling up. It feels as if all of this has happened far too soon, that only couple of months ago he was a little boy with a pudding bowl haircut (I don't know what I was thinking) and a best friend called Joseph, who liked Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles and was scared of the Garbage Truck. He's so tall now that I reach his chest, and yesterday when we all played in the pool, I climbed on him for a piggy back and he felt like a huge giant, with big muscles. There is so much goodness in the core of him, that it makes me feel like a bad person in comparison. There is truth zooming out of every pore, like great wonky shafts of light, and his absolute sense of right and wrong and what is fair in the world, and who is being treated with injustice. I can't fight with him anymore, because usually his argument is better thought out than mine (the rhetoric major doesn't fall far from the tree) and when we do, as we did this morning, because I was complaining that he was being negative, all I wanted to do was sweep him up in my arms and tell him that I love him. O how sweet the regret. How I wish that it had been me that took him to the swimming hole when he was a small child, and not the nanny, while I was in my office stuck on a no doubt useless conference call, and how I wish it had been me that picked him up from school every day and heard about his day. God bless those mothers who truly believe they can have it all, because I don't believe it; I think we kid ourselves into thinking that way, brainwash ourselves, in fact.
It's a precarious role, that of mother & referee, and that's where I find myself, stuck squarely between father and son. It's a funny thing about human nature that we choose someone who becomes the love of our life, our soul-mate even, but when it comes down to it, when it really comes down to choosing a side, the child always comes first.
The English part of me just wants to suck it up and carry on. And another part is laughing at my weepy self, all self-pity and icky-ness & this constant desire to throw my arms around him. But I can't help but think that this is the end of something wonderful, as well as the beginning of something new and probably equally amazing, but it's the end part I'm dwelling on now. I want to say prayers and wrap up care packages in brown paper and stare at him like a lovelorn terrier. I want to tell him that I'm so proud of him that it's bursting my buttons. And I want to tell him that this, too, will pass, and that even though it seems scary now, soon that smile will be back on his face and we'll all be laughing together again.