What I Can’t Un-see

5 Jun

It has been a LONG time since I’ve written a blog. I thought since we were ‘shut down’ for so long I’d have all the time in the world to blog but because we all lived with so much uncertainty and the days felt like the combination of doing nothing and extremely busy, I spent lots of time just staring at the screen then turning it off. But here I am again, trying to infuse normalcy into my not so normal world.

My younger son graduates high school this weekend. I have been on an emotional roller coaster for maybe a month now. I’m not sure if the reason is all him, or if it’s everything opening up and pushing back to normal. The sudden shift after a year and a half of fear, masks, shut downs, etc has been so strange and I’m not exactly sure what to do with it but I also think for the next few months and maybe even a year, people will be grieving and that includes kids. My son basically went back to full, in-person learning just a month ago (from March, 2020) and now he’s graduating high school and leaving for college. It’s a lot.

There are many things a mom can’t un-see…or maybe I should just speak for myself. Many things/events in my kids’ lives are permanently housed in my mind; the look when the tooth fairy forgot to come, the joy on the face when a kid made a team or scored the last minute shot or got MVP, the heartache on their face when they didn’t make the team, or the tear-streaked faces after a break up of a first love. Those moments and their faces, both good and bad, are etched in my mind and heart. Now back to my youngest. He had a stroke. Since then (almost 2 years now), I cannot un-see how he looked when I first entered the hospital room and saw him unconscious and hooked up to all the machines; or the terrified look in his eyes when he finally regained consciousness, the look in his eyes when he couldn’t form the words of what he wanted to say, the pain when he realized he couldn’t move or feel his whole right side. He has recovered miraculously but every time he drives away, stays out late with friends, doesn’t immediately reply to a text, etc, I see the boy in the hospital bed. I know this isn’t exactly healthy and I have worked HARD to not necessarily un-see it but to shift my ‘sight’ to gratefulness for each and every moment of every day. At the end of each day or even when he finally responds to a text, I thank God for that moment, release, and can sleep in peace…but honestly for just another day. Then I wake up and run through the same process. It requires lots of focus, mindfulness, and lots of prayer and some days are harder than others…work in progress.

So here we are. He chose a college 2000 miles away. I look at him and I’m so proud and so grateful and happy that he has overcome so much, and so angry that he had an interrupted youth, and so scared that I’m too far to help him in case there is a health emergency, a break up, a time of homesickness, or any of those things. Those are a lot of ‘ands’ and ‘in cases’ and there are much more, but I will continue focusing on today. He is still here. When I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer almost 4 years ago, I prayed for enough time to make it to this day, the youngest’s graduation. I am still here and cancer is still stable. I will always be mom and I know my job is/was to love him then let him go and be who God created him to be. He and I will both be ok and just like the other kids, he will take a piece of my heart along with him.

‘Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.’~K. Gibran


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