I miss him.
As the season changes. As we go about our lovely busy autumn days. As the holidays fast approach. There is an empty place in this home. Dustin is gone. When Dustin left home in June, a little piece of my heart broke. Now it is October. I wish I could say that I my heart has healed…but no. I miss him each & every day.
When Dustin left, I knew that I would miss him. But I was not prepared for how fiercely I would miss him. I was not prepared to feel quite this sad. Although I knew it was coming, it happened so suddenly. One day he was a boy, living at home. He was playing video games & I nagged him daily to fold his laundry. The next day he was gone. Then came the realization that he no longer lives here. That he belongs to the Coast Guard now. That his childhood is over.
I will say that Dustin seemed to handle boot camp much better than I did! Eight weeks. It was brutal. He was allowed to write home on Sunday of each week &, like a good son, he did write his mother every week. The first letter home was heartbreaking, as he shared how difficult his days were & how terribly homesick he was. But even at his darkest moment, he made very clear in his letters that he would succeed. He was determined. Every letter home was more positive, more confident than the previous. He shared his successes. He was proud of himself. He was changing.
During week six, he was allowed a day of liberty. He called home. During our hours long conversation, I got to hear just how much he had changed. I was so proud of his accomplishments. I was also sad, as he was no longer the same boy who left home. How could this be happening so quickly?
As I counted down the days until his graduation, I was focused on seeing him again in Cape May. I was focused on bringing him home & how very nice it would be to have him back. I gave little thought to the fact that his time at home was only a visit. That a brief week later he would leave again, this time for much longer than eight weeks. The second goodbye was harder than the first.
A lot of my sadness comes from the acknowledgement that time is passing & that all of my kids will grow up someday. Much of my own sense of purpose comes from mothering but this season will pass. I will put forth my best effort, raise them up, & call it a win when they no longer need me. A bittersweet win.
I know that this is exactly how life is designed. I know that his independence has always been my goal. I know that Dustin is safe & happy. I know that time will heal. And knowing these things does help…a little.