When I was pregnant, the baby and I had complete communication. No one knew what I knew about this little one. I knew when he was content. I could feel when he was distressed. Happy flips were only mine to perceive. A secret smile played on my lips as I went about the jobs of the day.
When the infant was born, for the first time, the nurses would pull that baby from me to weigh, measure, and examine. For the first time, I would feel a loss. A gain, but a loss of closeness, never would I be that close again. The baby also would fight that loss, so he would be swaddled tightly to mimic the feel inside me. But for me, no secret trick would replace the feeling of fullness. The only cure was holding the baby close and breathing with the same rhythm.
Soon that little one would roll over and seek other things than me. Bright lights, other sounds and voices, and finally the baby would seek a different physical space, wriggling to be let go. Once again, the baby determined the time that he would separate, leaving me to hold my arms across my chest and wait and watch.
At first when he went to school, he needed help finding his things, fixing his hair and doing his homework. The child made sure he said goodbye and got that kiss and hug. Returning from school, he ran through the door, pulled everything out of his folder to show me everything he did that day. Talking as fast as possible, told me everything he did and everyone he saw, everything he said, and even what was said to him.
Then one day, it happens, but I can’t usually define the exact day. He doesn’t ask and he didn’t tell. I begin to ask him and tell him. He is excited to give me the answers, fully, completely, looking me in the eye. He still seeks me for his special goodnight word or hug to complete his day.
I become inventive in asking questions to get more detailed answers. Now sometimes he answers and sometimes he doesn’t. His eyes are directed at the floor. He comes home from school and runs to his room and shuts the door. I begin to wonder if he is Ok, does he need me, should I try to push his boundaries so that I can know. I try to read his nonverbal cues and his tone of voice. Part of me longs for the closeness we once shared. But the other part knows that it is part of flying.
Time for leaving the nest becomes closer and I think he doesn’t need me anymore. A feeling of sadness and panic threaten to overwhelm our relationship. I push too hard, and he thinks I’m nosey. I don’t push enough and he thinks I don’t care.
Balancing, falling, and getting back up again. Now it is ME that is in unknown territory. I pray, I breathe, and I love. That’s all I can do now. Fly my little one, fly.