I stood in the hallway and watched him run into his classroom.
His little feet, with the new gray shoes with velcro straps that still stuck tightly, that we so carefully picked out, skipped across the threshold, into the brightly colored room bursting with newness and opportunity, until he came to his desk where he plopped his “Awesome” Angry Birds backpack down. I stood there in the hallway, watching him, the boy that entered the world in a frenzy of activity, with nurses yelling and a midwife running, the boy who always tells me he loves me mega times infinity, open his desk with delight and wonder.
I saw him, the boy with the love of Angry Birds and building, who could eat apples all day long, breathe that quick inhale of excitement and expectation. Then, after smiling at his friends, he looked up, across the room of first grade crazy busy, and then the smile of love, hope, and you’re my mom look at me came across his little freckled face.
I love you.
I pointed and signed it out to him.
He smiled. One of those big smiles that moms and their kids get the joy of sharing, waved, and just stared. I waved.
And then it was my turn.
Turn around, don’t look back, and know that he’ll be great.
It was a saying goodbye moment of life.
Sometimes we know they’re coming. We know that the day will creep up faster than we thought it would and we’ll be the mother watching the little one drive away, flip the tassel, or open the locker the very first time. We can sigh, and love, and wonder where the time went. And then, then there are those tucked in last moments that we simply don’t realize they’re the last until one day we think back and remember.
The last time carrying them up to bed. The last time holding hands in the store. The last time helping to tie the shoes. The last time that pesky 7 times 6 fact wasn’t known. The last time making their bed in your home. The last time wearing a onesie. The last time needing you to pick them up from soccer. The last times.
Motherhood, and life, is this tapestry of saying goodbye moments.
It would be easy to let the tears of nostalgia tumble from our motherhood eyes. I felt them, I could feel them welling up in my eyes as that precocious boy of mine in his blazing red Angry Birds sweatshirt waved goodbye. And I didn’t fight them. I let a tear tumble down my cheek and walked out holding my momma I love that little boy mega much head high.
That’s what we’re supposed to do.
We’re supposed to let them go. Grow.
Us mommas are all in different spots of saying goodbye. We just are. And we all know it – as I walked through the hallway back to that truck of mine that I’m working so hard to replace, I just let the tears sit on my cheek. Nods and smiles met my eyes. Because you know what? We all get it.
We get the moments of saying good bye. We get the letting go. We get the struggles even – the frustrations in the morning, the daily grind, the lack of sleep, the giving giving giving for those little ones to whom we gradually let out of our nest and onto their own. We get it.
Even if sometimes it seems like everyone else has it all together.
But we all have moments. Moments of awesomeness and moments of despair and moments of hands in the air and moments of sweet sweet love. Moments of giving and moments of exhaustion. Moments of messy faces and what were you thinking and moments of angst. Moments of picture taking documenting just how far those babes have actually grown. Moments that layer upon each other creating memories of a lifetime of motherhood.
So to you, all the sweet mommas in moments of saying goodbye and new transitions my words to you are simply that you are not alone.
Let the tears fall.
But know, know, know that they fall because of love.
And a mother’s love is beautiful.
It’s a beautiful thing to love a child so much that you say goodbye. It’s a beautiful thing to give of yourself. It’s a beautiful thing to fight for them. It’s a beautiful thing to do the ordinary.
And it’s most beautiful to love.
So today, today at 2:15 I will stand in the hallway and that little boy, the little boy who just grew up a bit more, will come running to me and I will bend down to meet his eyes, which someday will probably tower above mine, and I will look at him and tell him I’m so proud of you Elijah.
Because that? That’s what we do.
And let them grow.
Carry on sweet goodbye saying and very brave mother.
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It’s a beautiful thing to love a child so much that you say goodbye. — that line is sticking with me. Thank you, love this post.
Oh Rachel what a beautiful post! My oldest son started Kindergarten two weeks ago and since that day, I have had dozens of moments of wondering “is this the last time I will ever get to _________?” Fill in the blank, could be singing his favorite song at bedtime, holding his hand whenever he is in range just because it feels good, helping him blow his nose. From the magnificent to the mundane, one day I won’t get to “mother” like I do now. Kind of makes me sad to wonder how many of the “last times” have already happened. Even though there are dozens of first times yet to come, nostalgia can be very powerful. Thank you for sharing your heart:)
And, by the way, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my supercool red little things matter t-shirt. Not only is it a great idea, but it fits perfectly. Curves in the right places, not too tight, not too baggy. Looking forward to the next edition. Carry on, brave Mother.
This was very timely. My oldest 2 boys are moving to their own apartment tomorrow. A different kind of goodbye, but still hard on the mama.
And the saying goodbye part never goes away. It persists from the moment our precious children are born and the goodbyes undulate throughout life. Its a intermittent ebb and flow. Daycare. Kindergarten. Camp. College. Marriage. And yes, there isn’t any preparation for these goodbyes, because even when we think we’re ready we’re really not. It is as hopeful as it is bittersweet.
Thank you for this, it was a good read. Do you we all a support group or something? LOL
And for all the moms whose goodbyes are different.
The moms who watch the #4 child walk out the door arm in arm with someone while #3 stays home, will likely always be at home.
I am in my own way very blessed, he can cook and clean and do all that he needs to get by in life but a house and home and children of his own? It’s too soon to say maybe, I hope. Perhaps another leap of growth and management will come upon him. I’m already astounded by the things he accomplishes with ease now.
Too soon to say goodbye to some of the hopes and dreams.
I’m a 67 year old Mom to a wonderful, independent daughter. While pregnant with her back in 1974, I ran across the bit of prose below. I typed it up, laminated It, and have carried it in my wallet ever since. It helped me so much and I don’t know who the credit goes to for such wonderful wisdom…
“Sometimes we love our children so much it seems we can’t bear to ever let them go. And that is natural. That’s human, warm, and dear. But the true test of parental love is not how fervently we clutch them to our breast…but how willing we are to release them. It’s our job not only to teach our children to walk…but to walk away. When the day comes that they are ready, love will not urge, “Stay, oh Stay with me”. But “Go!”
I still remember the milestones, kindergarten, junior high, and the worst was when my only daughter moved out of state to go to college. I recall her driving off in her car, all confident and independent like I taught her to be, and leaving me behind in an empty house. I remember going up to her room, laying on her bed, grabbing some of her childhood stuffed animals and crying my heart out, sobbing like a baby. I’m now grandma to a wonderful three-year-old granddaughter and once again time is passing much too quickly.
I didn’t get a chance to say good bye to my little buddy but then again I didn’t know it would be the last time I would hear his voice. I guess I got something even better than a good bye. His last words were “I love you too Mommy”. Embrace every moment with your children….you never know when it could be the last one💜
Oh Kathy. Tears.
Sending sweet blessings and thoughts.
I am so sorry, Kathy. My heart hurts for your loss. May God wrap his comforting arms tightly around you every single day. Your beloved, precious sweet son is with you every moment, in your heart, by your side, and in your dreams. Xo
Today I dropped my son off at college…I will admit a few tears while reading this…but I was strong in front of him. He needs me to be ok with him moving on…he needs to know that I know he will be ok.
Yes. 🙂 He will be ok.
Thank you Rachel, Today my baby started preschool. Hes my only baby. Daycare was so hard as he was so young, but today is still so hard with all the milestones he keeps achieving! Hes getting bigger, smarter and more independent with each and every day. Also very argumentative, as he has such a mind of his own! We have many battle of wills which could drive me absolutely nuts, but I wouldn’t change him for anything in this world. Today was bittersweet, as each day of each major milestone. I’ve realized it doesn’t get easier you just LOVE your way through it better.
Yes yes yes — you just LOVE your way through. you can do this. It’s so hard sometimes and challenging, but we jsut keep on giving and doing our best.
Beautiful. That encompassed everything I’ve gone through . My kids are grown now but there are still goodbyes with them
Moving out, getting married , etc and the memories of them being little always come back ❤️❤️
I jus love this. My daughter is in her first year, and her first day, she was jus so happy to be there. When I left she was OK with it. I looked back from the hallway and she smiled at me with a huge “you can let go mama” smile and waved me goodbye.
My last goodbye to my youngest and only son was when he, his wife, and son moved across the country. It has been three almost four years and two granddaughters that I have never seen since that goodbye was spoken. I am very proud of who he has become. Every day I think of him and my heart hurts to know I might never see those little girls and boy ever in my lifetime, but I know with tears falling down my cheeks that my son will be alright. That I did a good job and I will always remember that last goodbye.