Goodbye With Grace

You are boarding the plane.  My phone buzzes in my hip pocket as I supervise a final.  It’s not like I didn’t know you would actually have to leave.  It just wasn’t exactly final until I received the text. And it’s not like New York is a world away. We have cell phones; email; I could finally figure out how to use Skype, for goodness sake.

But you’re not here. Not in my house. I can’t hear your breath when I peek in your room at night. I can’t kiss your sweet cheek and I can’t watch you while you’re laughing with your brothers and sister about nothing and everything. I will set a place for you and then, remembering, put the dish away.

Yes, we’re very different. No, we wouldn’t do well living together indefinitely. You are every bit as opinionated as I am (“bossypants” indeed!). We can drive each other crazy.

But I love you. I loved you when you were only a thought, a worry, a very difficult thing to explain to my parents. I loved you when you were a chubby-faced baby with white peach fuzz sticking straight up out of your head. I loved you when you cried, when you smiled, when you slept. I loved you through the silly fashions, through the anger, the shouting, the tears. I loved you when you couldn’t stand the sight of me. I haven’t drawn a breath in 27 years that wasn’t filled with love of you, and I don’t suppose I ever will.

So I miss you today. Go safely. May your pilot be well-rested. May the city be kind to you when you arrive. May you have work offers waiting. May you stop to remember the One who gifted us with this love and this time together.

I love you. When you’re so far away from me, that’s all I have left. I can’t love you with my arms, with my smile, with a delicious dinner….but I love you. Go with joy and hope in your heart, and the courage that comes with knowing there are people who always wait for you to come home.

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