There is so much time–a grand canyon of time–between the intimacy of mothering and the emptying of the nest. And the time in between is something altogether out of time. Only you don’t realize this until you find yourself on the other side. Which is where I am now.
It’s a bit like marriage. Maybe a lot like marriage. Only the gap is swifter then. Like in the time between the birth of your first child and your first getaway. Where you discover that there is nothing. Left. Where there once. Was. Everything.
It was his birthday. I dug out the blue cardboard box with the silver stars and found a melted nine candle and melted one candle and put them together to create the impossible number: 19.
Going through the motions.
The night before was even harder. We sat on his bed and read the book that we read every year on the kids’ birthdays: “On the day you were born…”
He was born on a rainy Tuesday. Waited forever for him to come. Agonized through years of negative pregnancy tests. Two miscarriages. An emergency c-section. And once he was in my arms, I never let him ago.
Until, of course, it was time.
First in little ways. Then in small ways. Next in big ways. And finally, the day we took our baby to an institution 3 hours away and left him to live with strangers.
9 months later, he returned home to us. Loving us once more.
Only I was miles away.