It never seems to get any easier when it comes to saying goodbye to your mother for an extended period, as I must do whenever I travel for work. It’s usually only a week at a time, which isn’t long, so it always seems a bit silly to me that I feel like this, but such is the way of the heart sometimes.
In advance of every trip, I often look forward to packing a suitcase very efficiently, getting a change in scenery, staying in a hotel, buying an overpriced bottle of water at the airport, and escaping your mom’s clutches (just kidding!!). I often convince myself without much effort that it’ll be an adventure and a refreshing change of pace.
Then, about five minutes before I’m scheduled to walk out the door, while I have your mom’s face in my hands as I kiss her goodbye, I become aware. I become aware that I won’t see her for the next seven days, that I have this void that I can’t seem to fill. It’s funny how one’s perspective can change so quickly. Part of this has to do with her puppy dog eyes because she’s sad. She tells me that she already misses me before I’ve even left. I read that line and think how silly that seems, but I understand exactly what she means. And for the next hour after that, as I make my way to the airport, the texts and Line stickers follow – sweet everything’s that summon up a fire many think extinguishes after being with someone for a year (my mom called that phase “puppy love”, but I think “honeymoon phase” is more apt).
When your mother and I parted ways after our one year together in the eighth grade, I promised I would write her a letter every ten days. I actually kept up with it for about two years – that’s how in love with her I was, and to her credit, I always got a reply for every letter I sent. The frequency of my letters waned and eventually stopped some six years later, but that’s besides the point. After we got married, whenever I had to leave town for work, I made it a habit again to write her a letter and then leave it somewhere for her to find later. Today was the first time I didn’t do that, and I’m both disappointed in myself and sad for breaking the tradition. Or perhaps I’m giving myself a hard time and just still hungover about having to leave your mom for the week. I can’t imagine the feeling when you come along and I have to say goodbye to you too.