Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'M REALLY NOT OKAY WHEN I SAY I AM

Instagram_Day192
My granddaughter, Rylee, climbing up to me.
I woke up this morning shrouded in a heavy emotional funk. It felt like I rolled out of bed with a mink coat on my back which I find detestable. But that's how I felt and I couldn't shake it off despite my attempts at being grateful for what I have. 

It's back to school time for everyone and my Facebook feed was littered with photos of my friends' kids on their first day of school. Pangs of nostalgia stabbed my gut like indigestion and I realized why I was feeling f-u-n-k-y. 

Loss. 

Last night my 21 year old son, Tristan, asked me if I was okay with him going to church with his girlfriend. Although I felt a twinge of pain I said yes and let him know it was his choice. I'm the master at pretending I'm impervious to pain so Tristan was clueless to my struggle. I used to attend his girlfriend's church and know the majority of the congregation. They're ALL my friends. 

I encouraged Tristan to continue nurturing his relationship with God and assured him it didn't matter what church he attended. I would never hold him back from being with his girlfriend whom I love or stop him from going to her church because I want him with me. I couldn't have chosen a better family to welcome him with loving open arms. But it's the perennial letting-go every parent experiences that leaves us in bereavement.

I deeply valued and LOVED our time together at church. For a whole year my son and I bonded over bible study and Sunday service. I'm protective over my time at church because it's precious to me. I'd rather sit alone than bring someone who doesn't understand or share my faith. But I was honored to watch my son grow into a man of God; one who was seeking him with his whole heart. I ceaselessly prayed for this and was eternally grateful to see my prayers answered. Tristan and I had deep conversations about God, faith, relationships, mistakes, and love. Every moment I had with him I tucked into the tiny recesses of my heart. 

When the first day of school photos scrolled down my Facebook page this morning it reminded me of the times I wished I could press the fast forward button on my kids' teenage years. I counted the days until they graduated high school like a desperate prisoner awaiting release. Looking back now I would've punched my ignorant self in the face. I would've told her to savor the moments, even the tumultuous ones. I wasted so many years by never being fully present in the lives of my kids. 

I read a blog post today from a good friend of mine who described the morning she received news her brother had passed away. At the mention of her parents I began sobbing at my desk for their loss and continued bereavement. I couldn't imagine their abysmal pain because no parent should endure the tragedy of burying a child. Reading my friend's words felt like acid dousing a fresh wound. 

The past is not mine to manipulate or control. There's nothing I could do to alter it and every parent faces the consequences of squandered time. It's not wise to dwell on the sun setting on my time with Tristan but better to appreciate the quality of moments we spent together in the past year. It's imperative to remember that our relationship is one where he feels safe confiding in me and our mom/son moments haven't ended. Maybe the next time he asks if it's okay with me I'll have the courage to tell him yes...and no.