Friday, August 26, 2016

I Still Have 24 Hours

The other night when we went for our walk (my gosh how I love our walks) I noticed how much too quickly the long days of summer are ending. Night comes at us faster now, and so does the time until you leave for your first year in college.

This is a new beginning, like all your graduation cards said. It's a new beginning, and it springs from your time spent with us. This is the nature of the life cycle, and growing up and letting go and the day of your leaving for Madison is here in 24 hours.

I still have 24 ours of you living at home with us, as you have for the past 18 years.
It's hard to say goodbye because I have been with you since the first second you were born. Think of how that is, to not have you here next to me the way you have been for your entire life. As soon as the nurses placed you in my arms, a lump grew in my throat as I thought about how I would only have you for a while, and it's that thought that I've kept in my heart with every second of being with you, talking with you, loving you, and being in awe of you. What a gift it is to be your mother! I knew that time with you, every day of it, would be steps of letting go at every milestone: the first coo, the first smile, the first giggle, the first steps, the first words, the first day at school.

In one day, we will drive you to a new home, and a school that will be yours. You will be in a new place, and we will both be in a new space. College is where your future will take on more dimension, though seeds of it can be seen when I look back on your days.

I remember standing in front of the house with you when your were three years old. I had read of an experiment to do with bug lovers—something you already were by then. Insects were something that fascinated you since you could point. The directions told us to place a white sheet under a shrub and shake the branches, the goal would be to inspect all the bugs that would fall out. And so we did, we shook and oh my gosh with wide eyes we looked. The unbelieving amazement in your eyes at the amount of life that had just seconds before been invisible to us, is one of the mile markers in how I knew who you were: someone in wonder of nature. The rest of that day we spent carrying that white sheet from bush to bush, and you stood shaking branches and then stooping down to not just look, but to classify each type of bug that was revealed. You were fascinated then -- as you still are -- with the sky, with biology, with weather, with physics, with science, with the creation of the world we live in.

It's this, seeing you grow into the loving, kind, wise, compassionate, introspective person that you are, that has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I wrote you a long list of things I know are important to a happy, satisfying, content and purposeful life. I'll give it to you when we drop you off Sunday, because I know how that will be. With me hiccupping and hanging on tight and trying to talk, and then starting all over with hiccupping again.

That's what we all want, you know, to have someone love us enough to hiccup over. If we know we matter, if we know we have made the world better, if we've had a chance to contribute and feel how we do make a difference, this fills us with a sense of pride and belief. We know our world needs us in it.

I can tell you that you've made a difference in our household of five: and in my world, especially. You've turned my life into one I couldn't have dreamed of, but I know that you want to feel that same significance for yourself, from your own labor.

I pray that I have helped you realize your worth and significance in the time I've had you, Xavier.

You'll be away at school, yes, but you will forever live here in my heart. And if you do feel alone and a little bit lost from time to time, remember that just at that moment, there is someone back home holding your picture and sending you love.

Today, I have 24 hours, and we will begin with all that I have come to know about you, like the way you like a day to start with cinnamon rolls, moving on to our long walks while we talk. And tonight, we'll have our last night with you home. You need to be prepared to be the one to step away from a hug that doesn't want to end.

I love you, Xavier. I am so proud, and so very fortunate, to be the person who has the honor of signing this,

With Love,

Your Mom

* * * 


  1. Brought tears to my eyes. Good luck to you both.

  2. So beautiful, Alexandra. Your boys are, yes, themselves amazing, but are a true testament to you as a parent and the love you've shown them. xo

    1. You've given me much to think about. I kind of feel this is who they would have been, no matter what, it's just... them. But interesting to wonder. Thank you. xo

  3. Beautiful words. I know just how you feel. Hugs.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. We always think other people's kids will grow up, but never ours.



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