"One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life." ~ Khalil Gibran
Saturday was spent in the warm sunshine, watching Derrick as he prepares for his departure to Boot Camp with the Marines in one week. For as long as we’ve waited for this day, I find my breath catches every time I think about it. Which is always.
This is what he’s wanted for years. I am happy for him, reaching this goal. Proud of his choices. Proud of the way he’s pursued his dream, kept his sense of determination and optimism throughout the process of it all.
The stark realization that this is what it is like to be a mother. I raised him for the purpose of letting him go to pursue his own life’s path. I should be as happy as can be. And I am. But the emotions overtake me in waves. Because my life’s purpose all these years has been Derrick.
So I’m left wondering, what now? Just me and the cats for the rest of my life? My life is full of other things, too. My work as a teacher. My alter life as an artist. My family and friends. All that means so much to me, more than I could ever express in words. There are moments I wonder if I’ll even survive this, as if all life will be totally sucked out of me, as if a vacuum has swept my heart away.
I know other mothers survive the departure of their children leaving them. Isn’t that the way the world has always worked? Maybe I feel this so intensely because I’ve been a single mother for so long. It has been just the two of us for the most part all these years.
Realistically, I know I’ll make it. Especially when I think about the other things I’ve overcome in my life. And this is a good thing. I would never take a dream away from someone, especially someone I love so much. The feelings I have seem selfish when I think about it with my head.
Really, I am so proud of Derrick. The sunburn on my shoulders from Saturday hurt, but I know that will heal oh so much quicker than the heartache of his departure.