There are a series of goodbyes and hellos and goodbyes again happening here in our world of late, and it's leaving me feeling rather on the sentimental side. This summer feels more full of those goodbyes than ever before....and yet, when I think about it, I know the goodbyes stared the moment they left the bed, the breast, the sling. Or the womb? Of course. It continues to be a slow and perfectly-paced dance, though sometimes it stretches me, sometimes it stretches them, sometimes it stretches us all. But here we are - growing alongside each other, trying new things, and falling back into the arms of each other to rejoice in the glory, the mistakes, and mostly, the adventure of it all. A lot of adventure.
I just picked one up at sleepaway camp who was, as it happens at summer camp, so very sad to leave behind his summer camp friends (and one special girl). He told me that he requested Joni Mitchell at the end-of-camp dance, and that when that played, a sing-a-long commenced (Big Yellow Taxi, of course). And my heart nearly burst at that.
This weekend, I dropped another off at his own sleepaway camp - separate this year, the two boys - and was shocked at the man-children that filled his cabin (perhaps young men is a better phrase, for they hardly seem children when they tower over me). Is he really that old? Was that cabin really full of razors and shaving cream and oh, that cologne!? Yes, he is and it was indeed. And he will do so well, and have so much fun, and I can't wait to hear some (but not all) of it.
And another, preparing for her very first adventure of the sort, complete with Breyer horses, stuffed animals, and the declaration that her vintage suitcase needed some decoration in the form of marker-drawn dahlias. Yes, yes, yes. Oh my girl. Always be you, my love.
That's what's going on these days. Growing. Saying goodbye and greeting change. Practicing - in not-so-baby-steps anymore - for what is to come, and finding comfort in what is, always has been, and always will be - family. Each year, and each new season, another layer of adventure is added onto the story of their life and the growth of who they are. And each time I think my heart might break a little from letting them go even further out of my arms, I pause and see their delight in the adventures that are all their own. And so I celebrate with them. Oh, what aching joy to watch them grow, and what a real pleasure it is to be their Mama.