I developed a new habit for a week or so this summer: I would scan google news for reports of missing people. I even would type "missing" into its search bar and read the stories: missing tourists, missing Amish girls, missing man, missing teen and on and on.
I kept doing this until I was able to figure out the source of my obsession: our oldest son is leaving for college. He will be missing from our lives. I will be missing him.
Gabriel is absolutely ready for this next chapter of his life. And my husband tells me to consider the alternative: he graduated from high school with academic honors and doesn't go to college? He stays home? What would that look like?
My love, however, is not logical. I know it's time for him to step out into the world and yet my heart is heavy every morning when I wake now. The day after tomorrow he and I head out in the family van, loaded with his clothes, his bed linens and three bicycles, for his dorm room in Massachusetts.
I will try hard to keep in mind that mothering is not a role I have to relinquish; it's my lifelong vocation. Gabriel is my child forever and our relationship will continue to develop as he explores the world with all its beauty and adventure. I'm remembering the book I read to him over and over when he was young.
It begins this way:
"A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be. "