The day we dropped Corey off at college was a day I’ll never forget and the feelings that I felt I pray to God that I’ll never feel again. I can still see him walking away, carrying the new Appalachian book bag we had just bought him with his head slumped down while he texted. I kept watching as my husband sat in the seat beside me with his head in his hands sobbing. My cell phone went off in my pocket and I fished it out. It was from Corey. It read, “I really do love you guys.” I texted back, “We love you too.”
The rain picked up turning the drizzle into tiny droplets that smacked the windshield of the idling car. Corey ignored the weather and kept walking. I stared at his back noticing how his shoulders had broadened, his height lingering at 6’1” and I accepted the fact that my boy had become a man. He turned back towards the car and waved. I forced myself to breathe and waved back. He faced forward towards the new adventures that lay in front of him, and I forced the air out of my lungs. I had never felt that way. I was watching my first child, my only son walk away. A new chapter was starting in his life and my life would never be the same. He would never need me the way he did when he was a little boy. Like when he held on for dear life in the ocean that summer, with his arms wrapped around my neck and his legs wrapped around my waist, with his head close to mine. I remember looking into his little brown eyes, such a beautiful little man. Now I had to give that up. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t ready. Time doesn’t wait. It moves quickly through the years. Now that time is gone and I feel as if I’ve missed the best part.
I felt true loss that gray rainy day. I felt hurt, saddened, I felt as if a part of me was gone. He grew and we all looked forward to each birthday, each Halloween, each Christmas, but what I didn’t realize is that each of these marked days was a day to celebrate, but also a day to mourn the loss of his childhood. If I could have spent more time with him. If only. There’s no going back now, only forward. I’m left with my regrets and I can only pray that he knows I did the best I could.
I knew that August day that my life would never be the same and I was forced to do what I had to do. I watched him walk away and I let him go.