Posted in College, Fragile Life, Insight, Milestone Moments, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

The missing limb

1187287_10151818827533746_1766580072_nI’m not a sailor or a swimmer, but I love being beside the water. And so, while my husband and youngset gallivant around town, I retreat to a quiet table on a floating dock. I order a glass of Chardonnay and coconut shrimp and set to scribbling notes on sheets of paper obtained from the young man at the Marina desk.

The sun is high above my umbrella as I sip and write, the day crystal clear, and the mountain range across the great expanse of Lake Champlain–a sea of waves unto itself.

This is perfect therapy after saying goodbye to a son (my first born), better than all those last minute searches at Wal-mart and Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond with the throngs of other distraught parents of college freshmen.

I decide that before we leave town–and him–that the rest of us will take the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory tour! Why not!

A thin, blue dragonfly lands on my table and reminds me of my calling. I fold a second piece of paper once, and then again, so that there are 4 boxes into which I can, somewhat privately, collect my emerging thoughts.

I’m interested in how the body has its own response to goodbye even as the mind says it’s fine…

When I have filled an entire side of the sheet, I unfold it and flip it to the opposite side, folding it up once more. I ask my server for a glass of water. I scoop out some of the ice and drop it into my wine. I am almost buoyant.

Just then I hear: “I think we should move here, Dad.”

I look up to see a boy about the age of our youngest, 13, standing beside his father who has stepped up to the bar. I recognize the longing in the boy’s voice. I’ve heard the same  in my husband’s today as he raves about the Champlain Valley, as if to say the same: “Let’s move here.”

I don’t hear what the father replies, but I sense it in his wife’s face as she approaches him. She is beautiful, but her cheeks look hollowed. She attempts a smile at her husband and then brushes her hand against his cheek while he leans over to kiss his son on the forehead.

From behind, a small girl with long brown curls wraps her arms around her father’s waist and rests her head against his back.

I wipe tears from my folded paper as their family limps away.


Lifelong educator, writer, retreat & journey leader, yoga & yogadance instructor.

6 thoughts on “The missing limb

  1. Poignant and painful…take care to remind yourself that Burlington is a heckuva lot closer than Raleigh, Tucson, Taos and Berkeley. He’ll be home often to visit that room that will always be (in your mind, anyway) “his.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Benjamin went to UVM…graduating in 2005. I love it up there, Kelly and he’s just married a lovely young woman whose family has a home on the lake in Milton. My daughter, Jennifer Wyman, who majored in Hotel Management has been with Basin Harbor for many years..I could easily move to that area; but it isn’t possible. My dream is to have an apartment someday overlooking the lake or a condo if for some reason I strike it rich!!!

    Sending all of you good wishes on this new adventure in all your lives. Have fun!


    Liked by 1 person

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