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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Apron String Heart

I pulled into our driveway in my cyber green Beetle.  A tiny voice in the back seat asked.... "Momma, are you going to make me move out when I turn 18 like you did Sissy?"  A little piece of my heart broke as I explained to my 8 year old that mommy didn't make Sissy move away, rather she grew up and wanted to go to college..... "Well I'm never going to college, I want to stay here with you and daddy." I knew he was struggling with his sister's absence; with 11 years difference between them, she had been a mother figure to him, letting him sleep with her so "Bubba couldn't smother him in his sleep" like he teased him of doing. His teacher had told me he was struggling emotionally with her move. She said he came to school every day and told her exactly how many days left until he would see his Sissy again; kind of like a child whose father goes off to war. He was most comfortable when the entire family was safe and accounted for each evening before he went to bed. If they weren't, he would inquire as to the exact time they were expected back.... "I just rest better when everyone is home." he would tell me. I poked my head in his bedroom the other night to tell him dinner was ready. He sat on the love seat holding his game
controller, his girlfriend sat beside him. His face is a gingerbread brown from working his summer job, but it is the same face that stared thoughtfully out the car window when I picked him up from daycare all those years ago. His bedroom walls that had been covered with band posters and teenage mementos, has been stripped bare. Boxes and packing supplies are stacked in the living room, waiting to be filled. In a couple of weeks, all his worldly possessions will fill a U-Haul and spirit him away to the City to begin his adult (or almost adult life). I think on some level, I thought he never would grow up and
leave momma and daddy, but the pulling force of independence and the opportunity to live close to his siblings is stronger than this mom's apron strings. I'm still not sure I've recovered from having his sister and brother leave, and now I'm preparing yet again, to set the child I've nurtured and loved, loose in a cruel world that doesn't have his best interest at heart. "I've done it before." I tell myself.... "I can do it again." But part of me wants to chain him to the past and never let him go as the other part of me fumbles with the knot of my apron string heart.

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