Monday, June 9, 2008

Gone Too Soon

So tonight I'm in the kitchen, starting dinner while I'm watching the NBC Nightly News. Ben is headed to a movie night at a friend's house, but Billy -- once he finishes chauffeuring Ben and returns a video -- is planning to be home for the evening. Between his job and his internship and a moderate social life, that virtually never happens anymore. It's almost as if he doesn't live here at all.

I explain to the two of them how to get to Ben's friend's house, and they head out the door. I focus on the news.

Every year around this time, network news programs fill space with a compilation of some of the year's more inspiring/provoking/entertaining moments from college graduations. Like every year, tonight's NBC montage shows speakers in funny hats and graduates doing funny little dances and kids with their names painted on the tops of their mortarboards and the ubiquitous pretty girl blowing bubbles.

But this year, there's something different.

I'm sobbing. SOBBING. Gut-heaving, nose-stopping, shoulder-shivering bawling.

Because I realize why I've felt so odd these last few days.

Two weeks ago, Billy finished his junior year of high school. A week ago, he turned 18. The child who made me a mother is now old enough to choose a president, to sign a binding contract, to fight a war.

And in just over a year, he'll be gone.

Not just out-three-nights-in-a-row gone.


My heart is breaking.

No ... that's not right. My heart is cracking, like an egg forced to let something hatch before the egg, at least, feels ready.

It hurts more than I ever imagined.

After a few minutes, the phone rings. It's the kids. They hadn't been paying attention had each thought the other was focusing on my directions, Ben says, and realize they aren't quite sure how to get to Ben's friend's house. This pisses me off brings me back to my senses, and my kitchen, and the dinner I need to fix. I wipe my face as I tell them yet again how to get where they are going.

But as I prepare to get on with my evening, I'm left wondering: Where am I going?

The only place I want to go right now is backwards, to the days of diapers and naptimes and Disney-festooned plates of bite-sized foods. Tonight, I'd give anything to start all over again.

Where did 18 years go?


MommyTime said...

Oh, Betsy. (((hugs)))

Mr Lady said...

Awww. I cannot even come close to imagining, but I think I maybe can imagine what it feels like. Maybe.


Tell me that day will never come for me, okay?