I’d like to thank you, faithful reader, in advance, for indulging me. Our relationship thus far has had an understanding; when you sit down and share your very busy time with me, hopefully with your cup of coffee and a cannoli, I promise to poke fun for a few laughs we all need and hopefully share a little insight so you walk away carrying a new nugget of thought you might not have had before. I’m not holding my end of the bargain today. No jokes. No poking fun. Just me, sharing my feelings about motherhood. I still hope you walk away with a new thought. Hopefully, you don’t just walk away.
Dear Noodge 1,
I know you’re unhappy with me and Dad right now. We’ve squashed your first chance to really be independent of us and fly to your marching band trip with your friends. I know you’re not focusing on the fact you’re still going on the trip, still rooming with your band mates, participating in all the fun activities, and not glued to my hip for six days. The part where you miss the flight down and back has your full attention and my answer to your “why” question doesn’t satisfy your need to know because my answer isn’t tangible. Sit with me a while and maybe you’ll understand.
From the moment you arrived in the world staring at me with those huge, brown, eyes and long, dark eyelashes I was in awe of you. Still am, actually, but you were this little person relying on me to keep you safe, healthy, and happy. Instantly, I took my job very seriously. It wasn’t hard really, you were the only person ever I fell in love with at first sight. Love at first sight is called motherhood and it happened again when your sister was born.
I read to you at night until you could read yourself, I held your hands to help you walk until you could take steps on your own. I made sure to catch you when you jumped down flights of steps, even when I was across the room, because jumping was way more fun than walking, for you. I ran with you while you learned to ride a bike just to keep you from falling and scraping a knee and I sat up with you all night when you didn’t feel well. I did it all without hesitation because I love you. Three simple words that have enough strength to hold up a universe, but you can’t know how strong that sentence is until you say it as a parent.
I knew there would be times I’d have to let you explore the world on your own and I knew you’d have no problem heading out to see what the world offered. When you were three and starting preschool, you waved good-bye and walked away like you’d been doing it for years. But for me, it was the first time I let my child out of my sight and it felt like someone had squeezed my heart with a metal vice, but I had to let you go. That’s part of my job too. The part I don’t like.
Our time together is short, for me at least, and whizzing by at break-neck speed. The day will arrive when you leave to lead the life you were meant to lead. The life Dad and I have worked so hard for you to have. The life I want you to have. But I don’t want you to go. Not yet, anyway. I’m not ready to send that little boy off into the world alone. Who will hold his hand when he crosses the street? Who will wait for him to make sure he arrives safely? But you’re not that little boy anymore. You’re becoming a young man right before my eyes; a young man I am extremely proud of with a good head on his shoulders and kindness in his heart. My job here is almost done and I know I will miss you to the moon and back when real life takes you by the hand.
So be patient with me. I am slower to let you go than you want me to be, but I will catch up to you. Just not today and not for this trip. This trip is another chance to know you arrived safely, another chance to make sure you look both ways before you cross the street, another chance to stand there and watch you walk away before you walk away for good.
I love you, Noodge, every second of every day, always and forever. But I promise you this, should you some day become a father, you will call me and say you finally understand why I didn’t let you get on that plane without me. You’ll know why I had to chaperone all your class trips, and why I waited and watched you walk home from the bus stop every day. You’ll understand why one of my greatest joys is to watch you sleep and you’ll understand why I wrote this letter. Until then, you’ll have to trust me and why my decision is the best one for both of us.