(This post is from Labor Day weekend when I moved my son into his freshman college dorm.)
YOU GUYS!!!!??????? My one and only child, my first and only born, my tiny baby boy, moved in to his college dorm. CAN YOU EVEN?
Last thing I knew, he was that chunk of scrumptious baby flab and a crazy toothless smile. He fit perfectly into the crook of my elbow and the indention in my shoulder and that chink in my hip and anywhere on my lap and he just adored–no, flat out INSISTED, that I pick him up and carry him around everywhere, endlessly. (That’s not even a slight exaggeration.)
And now he is a man. Sort of. A starter man who can barely tolerate my hand on his shoulder most of the time. OH-CAAAAAAA-ssionally, he’ll come in for a hug but mostly it’s hands off.
I get it. He needs space to figure out who he is without me MOMMYING all over him.
I have heard that the story of parenting is the story of loss. The moment we bring the baby home, we begin the process of letting go. ISN’T THAT HORRIBLE? But also important and true?
And Isn’t that the story of our own lives?
Inside every story of loss is a seed, maybe many seeds, of something new trying to be born. My son stepping into his new life. Me stepping into mine.
It seems that part of this new life includes walking by my son’s empty room with a giant hole in my heart.
Part of it also includes me moving my painting things to a new studio. a big, beautiful space with wood floors and tons of natural light. This is a total dream of mine.
As is my son leaving home, finding his way, his strengths, his path, his people.
When I think of him, I feel proud. thrilled, interested, nervous, left out, relieved, scared, heartbroken, confident.
When I think of my new workspace, I feel excited and eager, like a badass and also an imposter, like IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME and also, WHO DO I THINK I AM?
I honor the mystery–of my son. Of me. Of the seed. Of this life.
So, on this day, I send you hearts & high fives & muscle-y arms for whatever new life is being born. Maybe you’re an empty or partial empty-nester, or you’re widowed, newly divorced or separated, or you find yourself on the cusp of a new career, your first, second, or third act. Maybe you’re mustering the ovaries to set up a creative workspace or throw out those ugly pants or wear that outrageous dress or shave your head or stop shaving your pits or break out that novel or memoir for the 9th time.
You got this.
More than that: You’re a fucking warrior. And not because of HOW you’re doing it. You don’t have to feel a certain way. Love it. Dread it. Hold it like a newborn or a slippery liver. Get it on you. Wear an apron. Fuck up. Forget. Remember. Drop it all. Pick it all back up.
Seeds start in the dark. Who knows how they feel about it? Maybe they’re screaming and crying the whole time, through the soft earth or the gravel or around roots, debris, boulders. They go where they go. They take the time they take. But sure enough, in time, they break through into the light, tender and mighty and amazing.