And my 19 year-old-man-child has a new address.
Competitive, driven, exacting, loyal, and afraid of disappointing any one he respects, he squared his shoulders in the midst of the unthinkable.
There are serious differences between moving a boy into college and moving a girl; first, hundreds of dollars remain in our account and secondly, we were done in less than two hours. The man-child has a total of four pairs of shoes and his toiletries fit in one 8 inch by six inch shaving kit. He took a total of two pictures - neither one were photos of his mama. I wiped down shelves, inserted industrial shelf liners, unpacked less than six small boxes, and offered to vacuum before I left. Wade Garrett just shook his head. We reviewed, twice, the protocol for hanging up a used towel before the man-child rolled his eyes at his daddy and I was hauled out of the frat house.
I asked to see the 1987 house picture where my friends young faces still rest and said a thankful prayer for the standards and legacy of Farmhouse and the good Lord's hand in my life and in the lives of my children - I marvel at how little is left up to chance and how close the circles of our friend's lives overlap the lives of ours. We are never alone.
Still, in a world that has yet to learn how to be kind, leaving a child, even a man-child, alone in a college town, my home town even, rips at the strongest mother's heart - and I'm not near as strong as I used to think I was. The truthful thought, the one I cannot escape no matter how many verses my mother's voice says to me, is the last time I sent a child into the world, a child destined and equipped to make a significant difference, the world didn't take care of her. The truthful thought is - I won't walk upstairs in less than 7 hours and kiss his face good-bye like I have done for the last 19 years. The truthful thought is - each of those mornings has to be enough for him to begin tomorrow without me.
Like my son, I squared my shoulders today and reveled in the business-like euphoria the man-child possessed. We are not called to live in a spirit of fear, and my need for control nor my broken heart would dampen his enthusiasm for this day, For this chapter. I wouldn't be that mom - but when I entered my home, its emptiness emptied me.
It would be more tragic if he were not ready to leave, if he still cowered behind my legs lacking the courage to place his hand out in front of him to meet the challenge that awaits or the confidence to look another in the eye. It would be tragic, indeed.
It isn't. Thankfully, its a story of victory, of family, of prayers prayed faithfully and prayers answered. We missed her sarcasm today, her continual taunting that the boy was more loved and more spoiled than she. We miss the picture we should have taken - but we revel in who this man-child is and who he will become, and we are thankful for today.
#bestrongandcourageous sweet baby Wade. Your mama loves you so.