Tomorrow my Alyssa leaves for NYC for 8 weeks. I sit next to her as she naps, excited for her adventure ahead, all the while my heart is breaking. Her presence is my joy. Her love spreads like sunshine. How I will miss my proximity to her loveliness.
Parenthood is full of these paradoxes as our children venture forth on their own. We are practiced but it never gets easy. I’m glad it doesn’t. I’ve learned to allow my heart to break because it reminds me that I dare to feel deeply. Whether joy or sorrow, the capacity to feel any depth in one domain of emotion intersects with the next. Alyssa has bestowed upon me some of my deepest joys as a human being. For that I willingly encounter these moments of positive heartbreaks.
She is meant to create her own path and experiences. Yet that parting, the precipice of that goodbye brings me to such a deep well of sadness. I know the grieving will dissipate over time as I watch her expand the horizon of her life. I’ve been here before over the last 20 years, when she left home to start pre-school, when she was to spend more of her waking hours in grade school than at home, the first time she left for summer camp, when she left home to start college. I am well practiced in my children leaving to pursue their new adventure, yet mom’s anticipation and aftermath of the leaving, haven’t waned in intensity. Every goodbye is like the first goodbye when I waved to her as she waved goodbye in the arms of her preschool teacher.
Two weeks later, mom has found her bearing again. Alyssa is settled in, discovering the City and seeing friends she hasn’t hung out with in months. The dull emptiness I felt, the vacuum of our child’s presence never leaves me. Yet now, as I feel her joy and her excitement, it fills the empty space of longing.
May her journey bring her new eyes and new senses to the magnificence of our world, the good people abound who love; and, may she continue to own the immensity of her light.