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 our younger son gallivant around town, I retreat to a quiet table on a floating dock.

I order a glass of Chardonnay and coconut shrimp and then I set to scribbling notes on sheets of paper that I obtained from the young man at the Marina desk.

As I sip and write, the day is crystal clear and the mountain range across the great expanse of Lake Champlain appears as if it is a sea of waves unto itself.

This is perfect therapy for saying goodbye to a son (my first born) which we did just an hour ago. This is 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, willing to buy anything to delay the pain of separation.

Before we leave town–and leave him behind–the rest of us will take the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory tour, I think to myself. Why not! We can have some fun.

A thin, blue dragonfly lands on my table and reminds me of my calling. I am a not only a mother. I am a writer. 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 as the server refills my water.

I write about how 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 scoop out some of the ice from the water and drop it into my wine. I am almost buoyant.

“I think we should move here, Dad.”

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

I don’t hear the father’s reply, 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 and then brushes her hand against her husband’s 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.

As the family limps away with their drinks, I brush tears from my cheek.


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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