When I was a kid, my mom would wake me up for elementary school before my brothers. She told me it was because she wanted to talk with me before she went to work. A few years later when I complained and tried to roll over to go back to sleep, she told me that I needed more time to get ready and my bus had an earlier pick up time. I’m pretty sure it was all a con job, meaning I was the youngest, a tad gullible, and could be pushed around more than my brothers!
In any event, when my mom woke me, I would get up and grab a bite to eat first before getting a shower. I would stumble bleary-eyed into the kitchen. My mom would chit chat with me. We’d talk about what I had coming up in school or my next baseball game, nothing real important, just run-of-the-mill stuff, but we were still talking.
When the time came to get going, my mom would gulp down the last little bit of her coffee and race out of the house. She wouldn’t leave a lot of time to spare. She’d drive off in her car or commute with a neighbor up the street. I would watch out our front door as the car got further and further out of distance, until I couldn’t make out anything anymore, except for the last little remnants of her rear brake lights. The red would glimmer in the distance until it became nothingness.
When there was nothing more to watch except to stare at the frost on the window, I would finally pull myself away, cursing reality. I would usually feel a little sad, a little disappointed about school or even missing my mom, but it would normally be the kick in the pants I needed to get a shower and get moving.
Many, many years later
The habit has changed, but I’ve kept it up. When my kids go out for the night, I’ll usually watch until they’re well out of eyesight before I go back to doing whatever I was doing. For example, when we dropped my daughter off at college, I kept staring in the rearview mirror until she was well on her way. I’m not sure what I was looking for, one last hello or goodbye? Or one last hug. Who knows? I’m not sure, I just couldn’t pull myself away.
Last Minute Preparations
As it turns out, my mother was preparing me for the future. When my daughter heads off to South America later this year, I know right now that I’ll watch her until I can’t watch her anymore. I’ll keep watch until the little red light turns into nothingness. And I’ll step back into reality once more.
It’s never easy, but life has a way of keeping on.
I keep telling myself though that it’s not goodbye, just see you until next time.