Lump in my throat. During the 90 minute drive home this afternoon. All the way from Cambridge up I-95. Snizzle wetting the windshield. Tears in my eyes. It's almost over. An era drawing to an end. Happy-sad. My boy is growing up. My darling Charlie.
Wasn't it just last week that his long graceful yet still chubby fingers wrapped tightly around mine as he nervously clutched his yellow plastic lunch box in the other hand? A teensy navy and green backpack monogrammed of course held an extra pair of undies and Madison ... just in case. First day of school. He was two. One day a week. Mondays. Mothers' Day Out. For me - Mothers' Day In - For a few weeks I waited the several hours as he dealt with the separation. First on the comfy bench outside his classroom. Graduating to the sofa in the director's office. Until finally I could go do some errands before picking him up after lunch. We both managed beautifully. The days have melted into one another. Years zipping by, smiling. Laughing. Learning. Experiencing.
Yesterday he finished the eighty-eight page draft of his honors thesis on the decolonization of Hong Kong. 88. Double infinity. An auspicious number for the Chinese. Symbolizing fortune and wealth. The luckiest of all numbers. The year of his birth. The month of his birth. His first night sleeping in his crib yellow and white chintz, Madison and Monkey Doodles at his side, at home. 8/8/88. The sun shines on my baby. He is blessed. The fortunate one. It has been a most delicious dream dripping love. Discoveries. Adventures. The most profound pleasure ... these past two decades. The 'dynamic duo' imagining the possibilities.
He graduates from college in May. So today marks the end of our annual ritual. Switching closets from winter corduroys, wool cable knit sweaters, scarves and boots to the pastels of spring. Since he schools away from home, and has for six years, this is not your typical up to the attic or down to the basement. Uh-uh. It involves me, my station wagon, many LL Bean bags and a 90 minute trek down I-95. The mid-March drive to Massachusetts. Back of my Volvo filled to the brim with Charlie's spring clothes and warm weather gear on the way down; winter woolens and down parkas on the way home.
Next year he might be in Hong Kong or Singapore. No need for seasonal changes of clothes. Summer year round. Or in Moscow. Yes. There he'll need to switch from winter warm and cozy to summer lights. Or in London. But the Volvo won't be making the trek. No longer. C'est fini. Obsolescence. The mama needs. My sweet boy will be changing before someone else's eyes. All grown up and out in the world. Rooted. Loved. Cherished. No matter the season.
Cheers to my heart ... his journey ... and him knowing I am always here at the ready. Always!