Three years ago today I had planned to be admitted to the hospital, one week prior to my due date, to have a cesarean. We had planned to welcome a healthy and breathing Koen in to this world. Three. My goodness. Hackett is a talker, Tobin is well on his way - talking constantly even though we aren't real sure what he is talking about the majority of the time. What words would Koen have had for us? I think age three is one of the most adorable stages, and I'm missing it with him. Tobin grabs my leg and squeezes, pats my back and arm while we snuggle, runs his fingers through my hair. He loves me, needs me, and shows it. Sure he had a stage four meltdown yesterday, but when he is sweet, he is the sweetest. I see what is coming in the stage ahead with Tobin, as I cherished those special years with Hackett. But I don't get them with Koen. He won't be starting preschool with his tight blonde curls and backpack this year. Kevin has some amazing dimples - Hackett and Tobin did not get that adorable trait. I wonder if Koen did? We never got to see him smile. Three. He would have been three.
School starts for Hackett in a few weeks. He will be in fourth grade. I'm nervous for him. It's all new. New school, new kids, new routines. New is hard for me, but somehow its become the norm for our family. We don't ever get too comfortable. I hate when summer ends - as a kid, college student, a teacher, and now as a parent. I like having Hackett with me, I love lazy days together, and the slower pace of life. This year is even more difficult for me. I want to protect him from the new, rescue him from the unknown and scary. I want to continue to pretend that we are just on a glorified vacation at the beach. But I have to let him go. I have to watch him walk through the doors of a new building, surrounded by new kids, and I will stand and look at the sea of parents ... and they too will all be new. I know that he will be fine, do well, but it doesn't help on that initial day. It's like taking a dip in the cool waters of Lake Huron. Once you get used to the water it feels good, but the slow walk in is hard. It makes you shudder and want to get out. I feel like we are only knee deep in our new town, and its comfortable enough, but we have to plunge all the way in to the water in a few weeks. And I don't want to. I want to get out and lay in the sun a bit longer.
I've also realized we are at the halfway point with Hackett. He's nine, and in nine years we will be leaving him at a college dorm and pulling away without him in the car. I'm sitting in our sunroom, crying, and watching the clouds move quickly by. Just like time, it seems to be moving by at a quicker speed than I realize in our daily lives. But it is going so quick. Too quick. I want to reach out with both hands and slow it down. When I was pregnant with Hackett I heard all sorts of advice, mostly surrounding his infant years. A few would say "it goes too fast", but at 26 I just couldn't conceptualize what that truly meant. No one told me "get ready to let go". For me that is what motherhood is about, and its the hardest part. It takes 18 years to slowly rip off the band aid. The crazy dichotomy is that it can be so rewarding to let go. When I let go, and watch him soar, so does my heart. I want him to fly, and soar, and do great things. Yes, yes, I do joke with him about calling me every day when he grows up. But the reality is, I don't want him to. I want him to stand on his own two feet and be strong and capable. I want him to love his wife with his whole heart and give his extra energy and time to his own babies. I want him to touch hearts and shine bright for Jesus. I want him to have compassion for the hurting and stand firm in his beliefs and convictions. I want him to be a man. Right now he's my boy, but I see those days quickly slipping through my fingers. I'm excited for him, so excited to see what he will become and do. But my goodness how will my heart not shatter in to pieces from missing him in my home.
I think these feelings are normal and natural - right? I sometimes wonder if the letting go is more complicated in my already broken heart. I had to let Koen go. I had no time. He was ripped from my grasp. It wasn't a goodbye that lasted 18 years, just a few hours. No one tells you that motherhood is far more painful that childbirth. That you have to give your heart away and watch it walk out your door, or your womb.
This guy joined me right as a finished typing and posting earlier today. I slyly wiped my tears away and he brought me some joy, he always does.
I am Jackie.