I live in a new place now. I call it “In Between”. There are no exacts or extremes here. I never quite get to where I want to be. Emotions run rampant. “What if’s” are almost always the Thought of the Day.
This past weekend my youngest was home on a leave from his job and his station in the USMC. When he walked in the door I was ecstatic, to say the least. It had been months since I’d seen him and that is just too long for me. I hugged him tight and took in his scent. So thankful that he had come home to me.
With the joy, the smiles and the tears came another visitor all too familiar to me. My baby was here and in my arms. He has grown so big and so strong. A better man I couldn’t have imagined he would be. But, in that moment of joy the memory and the face of the son I lost was calling out to me.
I was again hit with the reality that never again would he walk through the door with a smile and a kiss for his Momma. I was standing there, smiling faces surrounding me. I was happy, really happy. I was also a little more. A little bit sad and a little bit lost. “In Between” living comes with that cost.
This past week I went on dates with a son. We told stories. He taught me what he could about his new life. We sat at a bar for the first time together. I kept sneaking glances and thinking, “how did this happen?” my baby is a man. My eyes couldn’t take in enough. I noticed the change in his posture and voice. I was so happy to be there sitting with him. Still, I kept looking to see if I could imagine what it would be like if his brother was there and it was us three.
Last night at dinner I cooked for the first time in months. I haven’t had a reason to, so I never do. I missed it a lot I came to realize. Food bonding and feeding “the boys” is something I used to love to do. Now their sister loves it too. We sat at her table and she helped cook. It wasn’t just us three. There are a lot of boys. They are brothers, though they didn’t all come from me.
We had a happy and full table. Telling stories, playing games and teasing each other. I was at the border of a mother’s bliss. But I couldn’t quite reach the level of joy I knew I once could. I kept missing one boy, noticing again the feeling of loss. Wondering how much he’d laugh if he heard his brothers dirty jokes. I thought I could hear just what he would have said; he’d laugh and it would show all of his teeth and he would’ve said “Oh, my God”! He would have looked at me to see if it was ok that I heard what I heard. Only then would have joined in with some jokes of his own.
I don’t know how long I’ll be here. This space in between. To how many special occasions will I bring this ghost with me? I lean towards the belief, that every smile I smile, every happy thought, every new experience for the rest of my life; will probably happen in this “In Between”. I’m okay with living here. This is the place that I can be sure that we never stop bringing his name up or conjuring up memories.
I’m okay with staying, because I know, that from where he is watching he will watch us grow. He’d want us to smile. He’d want to see us live. I’ll do my best to give this world and this life every chance he didn’t get a chance to give.
“Because the love of a Mother starts long before birth. It will last long after death.”