An interesting thing about the human heart is it can – and does – break more than once over the course of a life, for a variety of reasons.
My son moved out today and I’m heartbroken.
His moving is a good thing, in the truest sense of the word. He’s almost twenty. He has a full-time job and a full-time girlfriend and they’re moving into a basement suite together. He’s ready to start facing life on his own, as an adult.
He’s progressing and moving forward and that is as it should be.
But my baby has moved out and he will never live with me full-time as a child again and it hurts. Even if circumstances force him to return for a period at some point in the future, it won’t be the same.
The day was a blur of moving boxes and furniture but now that’s done and he’s gone and the house seems empty and quiet.
Everywhere I look, there are memories.
The drum kit is gone. The space it occupied is very empty and I think it will stay that way for a bit. I don’t have the heart to fill it in just yet.
He moved down to a room in the basement some years ago but his original bedroom was next to mine and as I walk by it, all I can think of is how I used to lie down with him at bedtime, read stories, and have snuggles.
I remember playing hallway ping-pong with him, wherein you close all the doors, each sit at an end, and bash the ball back and forth, enjoying the ricochets while trying desperately to return it.
I remember listening to him play the piano, being impressed by his ability to compose music. I never could manage it – too much fear of failure. He has always been more fearless.
I remember the first time he left home for a trip on his own, a school trip to Quebec, a sign of things to come. I remember missing him desperately and trying hard not to text him constantly, trying not to be that parent who hovers and micromanages every moment of growth.
I remember him crying when I had to go to rehab for the eating disorder that was killing me and wondering if I was doing the right thing oh, how I hope it didn’t cause him any harm.
I remember camping trips and going for walks and playing frisbee and catch on the street out front.
I remember when our first cat died, his first experience with death. I remember how he cried and how I wished I could it make it so he never hurt again.
Cards he made at school for Mother’s Day. Breakfast for dinner. The annual end of school trip for ice cream.
I hope I taught him enough. I hope I imparted the right lessons. I hope I did enough.
I thought I had more time. It passes, so quickly. He was a little guy who ran as fast as his legs could carry him to leap into my arms for a hug only seconds ago and now, he’s all grown up and starting his life.
I feel a little melodramatic. He’s still in the same town, just a short drive away, but everything’s different now. The step of moving out presages a shift; he’s grown up and ready to start facing the world on his own terms. I’m no longer the home-based safety net.
To be honest, he’s been living on his own terms for a while, but it’s been here, at home. I got to see him every day, check in with him every day, make sure he was okay, make sure he slept all right, make sure he ate breakfast.
He’s on his own now.
He’s an amazing person, smart and kind and sensitive and funny and responsible. I know he’ll be fine. I know this is a part of life. I know moving forward is a good thing.
But my baby has moved away from home and my heart is broken, just a little.