I said goodbye to the boy today.
I surprised myself with private tears...I'm surprising myself still. I'm the mum who smiled and waved him into the building on the first day of school without so much as a mist. I built into him a fierce independence - some by purpose, more by life circumstance - readying him for the leaving.
I thought I was ready.
When he was little, we held hands while we drove in the truck. As an adolescent, he draped himself on my lap often, saying, "I love you, Mummy...." in his sudden, startling baritone. As an early teen, he began to call me "Momma" instead of "Mummy", as he leaned across my shoulders from behind.
I was always told, "Oh, you'll miss this!"...but they were wrong. I cherished each stage, but never missed it when it was over. I loved him always, and embraced him with my arms and my heart, wherever he was.
Today, he put his dear arms around me, this man-child of mine, and pulled me into a hug - not the quick, pat on the shoulder, side hug, but the full-on, arms-wrapped, hold on for as long as you want kind.
Oh, and I wanted to hold on longer! Maybe forever...but after a minute, I told him I loved him, and I let him go.