I’m driving the 101 north as a soft rain falls on my windshield. I read the exit signs mechanically, searching for distraction. Bayshore Boulevard. Cow Palace. Candlestick Park.
I’ve just dropped my oldest son at the airport after his first holiday home from college, and everything is draped in grey. The road. The sky. The bay. They all fade into each other, one vanishing horizon.
I don’t want him to go.
There. I said it.
I don’t want to watch from behind as his steps take him away from me. I don’t want to lose the blast of his too-loud voice. I don’t want to walk into his room and find that everything is noiseless and still. The plaid comforter on his bed. The LEGO starship on his dresser. the Sports Illustrated and loose socks. I don’t want to forget his face as he looked up at me, way up, so long ago, and said, “Hold me, Mama.”
I don’t. Want. That. I want to go back to the beginning and take every step with him again, only this time I won’t miss a single thing, a beat, an expression. I will hold his unfurled fist against the sun and marvel at the way that each finger, every tender move, seems to sharpen the light in the entire, blinding, spinning-too-fast world. That first blue cry. The lip pushed up with anger. The stunned-rhapsodic eyes of a goal scored, the smear of boyhood defeat.
I want him to stay, and yet – yes, I want him to go. I want him to create his own room, his own space, the small monuments of becoming. I want to know that he doesn’t need me anymore.
I want him to stay. But more than anything in my mortal and electric being, I want him to go – knowing that life has been totally, righteously unleashed before him.
Go, my sweet, fierce son. Go.
With a Perspective, I’m Susan Dix Lyons.
Susan Dix Lyons is founder of an international healthcare nonprofit based in the North Bay.