The room is empty his bed made up. An eerie silence has befallen a house filled with chaos. Although there are six, one would think an absence would go unnoticed. That five would be alright? An empty chair at the table would bring no discernible question. Joy would come from one less to make lunch for, one less to ensure readiness for school, one less to pat on the head say I love you and kiss goodbye as that one passed through the door. One less….. Yes…
One would be wrong.
He brings a smile to my face everyday. I feel he brings smiles to many faces during the day. He has the same troubles most lads have at eleven. Staying focused in school, interjecting during adult conversations at the most inappropriate of times, picking fights with his little brother, while idolizing his older one. He is wicked smart yet chooses to only do what is required when the subject matter doesn’t suit his liking. But what child doesn’t behave that way? He loves all animals, big and small, and will cry at the drop of a hat upon learning af a harmed creature. Horses have become his passion as he yearns for every moment he can ride in the ring. He is big and strong, quiet, and funny, boisterous and obnoxious, yet humble when the moment requires. I have not met a soul who thinks anything but the highest regards for this young lad.
He is gone on a field trip, away from home since yesterday. I know not of his specific where about, I cannot speak with him as he has no cell phone. It is silly when you think about it really. But I never understood how badly I need his presence in my life. I have become as dependant on him as he remains dependant on me. I love all my children and feel the same sickening heartbreak when one is not around. My worry radar is on overload, my sense of protective parenting is on the highest of alerts. I feel as though I am electrified with no way to shut down the power.
How did our parents do it, I wonder? How did they get through this feeling, like that of a lost appendage? A hand, gone, a finger missing, my nose cut off to spite my face? It’s all there, holding me hostage until he arrives home safely. I dislike this feeling immensely! It doesn’t get easier with the next child as I have just realized. I really thought it would, yet its only more complex. How will I behave when I am down to the littlest member of our family. Will I need a straitjacket for a specified period of time? Xanex and whiskey to dull the pain? I am not sure, but I know this, I feel as though I just heard another grey hair pop from my skull!
I love you Jake! You are a reminder to me of why I became a parent. I never felt it was my right to have children, I have always known it as a privilege. You, your two brothers and one sister, remind me of that everyday. I challenge myself everyday to do my very best to guide you all to adulthood. I pray everyday that what ever challenges you face you know to trust that your parents will be there for you. I pray everyday that these little spots of freedom you encounter during the course of your childhood only strengthen your resolve to return home once you have ventured out into the real world as adults. For no matter what the reason, no matter what the need the door to your home will always be open for you to return.
Now hurry up and get home so I can hug you!