Monday, July 18, 2016

Footprints - Like a Trail of Breadcrumbs

"I can always tell where you've been." My mother would always tell me. You see, I somehow always left a trail. My shoes would be by the front door, my book still on the couch, and my coffee cup still on the kitchen table. Like crime scene evidence, you could trace my steps and lead you right to me! Unless you're hiding, I don't think this is such a bad thing.

Our youngest son came to visit this past week. We currently live in a tiny lakeside cottage in New York. Tiny. I mean, tiny. I'm usually fastidious about picking up after myself in this small space. If Chip leaves his shoes in the living room, I start to feel claustrophobic. So you can imagine what happened when our now grown son started leaving his shoes, his sunglasses, his wallet, his remnants of late night snacks, and laundry out of place and in plain sight.

You'd think I would have been on the verge of a panic attack. You'd think I would pick up after him for my own sense of well-being. You'd think it would have bothered me.

But it didn't.

In fact, as you can see, I took a couple of photos of his "trail." For posterity. After all, how often will I be able to see his stuff lying around anymore? He's 25 and lives 2000 miles away. Someday he'll marry and when he visits, it won't be just him. "Their" stuff will be lying around. That bothers me. Just his stuff - doesn't bother me one bit.

The day he flew home to Colorado I checked every nook and cranny of our tiny cottage actually hoping to find that he'd left something behind - some evidence of his being there. I'd taught him well - too well. He hadn't forgotten a thing.

But then I saw it! His unmade bed! Who knew I could get such a warm, fuzzy feeling from an unmade bed? Chip came up and began to strip the bed. And I started to cry.

"Wait. Please don't do that," I pleaded.

My oh so efficient husband was puzzled at this request. After all, he had laundry to do.

"Once you do that, then he's really gone!" I cried. The amount of tears caught us both by surprise. Letting go is so much harder than I'd thought.

After we did eventually strip the bed and washed the sheets, I sat on the naked mattresses and held the comforter to my nose, breathing in the last of my son's scent. It may sound weird, but to me it was my link to him now 2000 miles away - again. I know where he's been. He was home.

Just because we've let go of our sons to live a life of their choosing doesn't mean we're still not connected. Those heart strings are stronger than steel - unbreakable.