How else do I explain the roller coaster confluence of emotions that are happening right now?
Heart squeezing anxiety
I can’t even explain the reality of feeling all of these things, sometimes multiple emotions in the same heartbeat. In one minute I am describing my pride, the next minute my eyes are filling up and I am choking back my tears.
This is it….this moment represents everything we have worked toward and everything I have always wanted for you. I can’t even explain how deeply I long for you to leave the last painful year in the rearview mirror and move on to lasting friendships and a fresh start. I am living vicariously through you as I relive those exciting moments of preparation for leaving home for the first time. My heart just may burst from the pride I feel in all that you have accomplished and all that I know you will be.
But as I plan the menu for the last week of your favorite home cooked meals, I think about the number of days remaining to prepare them. I shop for the things you like and realize that you won’t be here long enough for them to be eaten…and it makes me so sad. I’m like a mother bird getting ready to push her baby out of the nest. I know it is necessary and good and right . I know that this is what I want for you and at the same time, I dread the final nudge.
How do I explain to you that the tears are as full of joy as they are of sadness? That these tears are the fullness of all that I believe in and want for you? They carry the memories of your first moments on earth, those first frenzied sleepless days, your first laugh (the most beautiful sound I had ever heard) and your first tooth (that great big lopsided grin that went with it) and your first steps (you were SO excited!), your first day of kindergarten (I was so terrified!), your first kiss (“Mama, Hayden kissed me. Where did he kiss you? He kissed me over there. NO! Where did he kiss you ON YOUR FACE????), first bike success (finally!!), and your first heartbreak (caused by hurting someone else). The tears are a celebration of all of those firsts and all the others that came before this one. The salt of these tears cleanse, they heal, they are the release of the past and the entrance of the future. These tears hold all the contradictions of the last 18 years. I release them and I release you with the all the joy, the sadness, the pride, the hope and the dreams that those tears carry. I release them in celebration of releasing you.
So in those last minutes before our good-bye when I am trying desperately (and failing) to control the waterworks, and you feel that pang of guilt at my sadness, please remember that life is full of contradictions and these tears are so much more than they seem.