Most mornings I rise early, happy to start the day as or before the sun rises. My eyes pop open, and my mind engages– planning, listing, and organizing. I roll out of bed and pad out into the kitchen, ready to enjoy the early morning solitude. On this past Sunday morning, however, I lingered in bed. I rolled over and tugged the covers tighter around me. I kept my eyes shut. Tight. I didn’t want to get up. I was not ready.
Over the last week or so, the pace had revved up–a bit faster each day. The long, lazy days of summer were fading fast and Sunday seemed to delineate, much too clearly, the end of summer and the beginning of too many changes. It was the day I had to drive my daughter back to college. It’s her Junior year, so I should be accustomed to her absence. But I’ve grown accustomed to her presence again this summer–to small conversations, shared outings, casual hugs and sweet proximity. I’m just not ready to send her back.
Her departure was the first scheduled and the harbinger of more to come. Staying in bed felt like my only defense, pitiful though it was. The week loomed ahead of me: On Monday I would have my first meeting of the school year. On Tuesday I needed to work in my classroom. Wednesday and Thursday are scheduled professional days. And on Friday…well, on Friday I take my oldest and my youngest to school. My son for his last year and my daughter for her first. I’ve had an amazing summer from start to finish and feel refreshed and energized. I’m ready to go back to school, but I’m not so ready to let my children go. I’m just not ready.
So, on Sunday, I lingered in bed, trying to deny the inevitable for as long as I could. Needless to say, it didn’t work. I finally got up, helped my daughter load up the car, and drove her to school. We chatted about this and that, unpacked, shopped, unpacked again and then went out to lunch. I enjoyed every minute of it.
But then I had to leave her there. And when I dropped her off outside her new apartment, she hugged me tightly and said, “I’m gonna miss you, Mommy.”
“Me, too,” I said, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” She turned and walked away, strong, young and dazzling, and as I got back in the car to head home, she looked back and waved again. My heart clenched and my eyes filled. God, I love that child.
I don’t know how I’m going to get out of bed on Friday.