I've written many times about the emptiness I feel when I watch Andrew head off to school in the early morning hours, the melancholy that comes over me as I strap him into his seat and kiss the top of his unruly curls. His weekday departures often leave me in tears and feeling helpless as he rides of into the big bad world where (fingers crossed) he is well taken care of by the many teachers, therapists, and adminstrators responsible for him during school hours.
Today was different though.
Today 7:40 a.m. could not have come fast enough.
I was tired.
Tired from a weekend of tantrums, aggression, non-compliance, spit up food, endless drum beats on solid surfaces, and drool.
Lots and lots of drool.
The truth came to me mid-breakfast, as I gritted my teeth and endured another failed attempt at getting some calories past his pursed lips. He needs to eat alot in order to avoid the feeding tube the specialists keep threatening us with, so when I can't even get him to finish a pint sized bite of something he once loved, it's enough to send my blood pressure skyrocketing and my carb addiciton flaring to new heights. It was in this moment, as he finally let the food past his stubborn mouth only to let it dribble out in small bursts of masticated grossness that I heard the voice in my head:
Go. To. School.
My heart broke into a million pieces as they echoed over and over again, all the way to the very core of my role as his mother. In that moment, at the breakfast table, I just wanted him gone. Not forever of course. But long enough for me to remember what it felt like to miss him. Because without that feeling, that feeling of not being able to exist without him, I'm not sure I could do the things he needs me to.
Now here I sit at starbucks, and it is 11:00 am.
He is somewhere on his school's campus, where I have to believe that the staff is making sure he is happy, comfortable and safe.
I am forcing myself to enjoy this oppurtunity to sit here and work uninterrupted; the smell of eggnog lattes and peppermint mochas and the faint hum of conversations that I don't have to pay any attention to are a much needed respite from the anger and impatience that infiltrated my morning today.
And that growing familiar tug at my heartstrings when I picture my little boy is a pretty good indication that I'll be ready to greet him with open arms this afternoon; maybe not with the kind of gusto that conquers the world, but at least the kind that gets us through bedtime.
On a day like today,
that just has to be enough.