Everyone is home now. Bill and Abby arrived home late afternoon, yesterday. And Alex is settled in his new home, at college, far away. It feels surprisingly okay. After all, these last couple years we have seen less and less of him as he has gone out to concerts, stayed overnight at friends' houses, gone on short trips, worked a job. He has been growing up and leaving for college, in a sense, for a while now. It was talked about and planned for and then...it happened.
It's amazing how fast life goes, and also how agonizingly slow and long some days are- the painful days. Right now, these are happy days. I feel a bit sad, but I am not in severe pain over the loss and the separation. My son hasn't left us- he has just left home base for another base where he can continue on towards his dreams. That's what we want for him.
While Bill and Abby were gone, getting Alex settled into his dorm, I was here in an empty house filled with a lot of stuff. I had bags and boxes of things that we no longer needed or wanted or things that we have outgrown. So my sister, Sue, and I had a Garage Sale at her house. It was a great way to be busy and to thin out unnecessary things from our life.
It was hot and sunny and the people came in waves. It was also a lot of fun.
"A dollar!" became our answer for almost every inquiry of "How much is this?". We just wanted to get Stuff out of our life and make room for Love, for Change, for Moving Onward. Her oldest son was leaving to go back to his last year of college and we both were feeling a bit blue, a bit unsettled. So it was fun to be together and to meet so many interesting people.
And then I saw him- the most beautiful little baby boy. A chubby baby- as in pudgy dimpled arms and legs. I joked with the Mom who was holding him, "This is the only time in your life when rolls of fat look so good on you!". My sister and I remarked how adorable he was. The mother told us he was five months old. I looked at that little boy and thought of my little boy, now big, now grown, now gone. I think she saw longing in my eyes, because then she did something so unexpected. She suddenly reached out and placed her baby in my arms. Without a word. With a smile. A very knowing smile.
I held him close to me and my eyes welled up with tears. He was chubby and blond and fair skinned- not at all like my son was when he was a baby. But he was close to me. He was in my arms and not resisting. He was snuggled in close to me. And for one minute I felt such sweetness and such sadness that I couldn't speak. I had once held my son like this. More than once. Many, many times, many days, many years. And the years flew by.
And now I hold him close to me, but also from a distance.
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun...." (Eccl. 3:1)