My eldest has been gone for a while now. Technically since the second of July. We are into our third week. The first week he was visiting his father. Which is our typical summer arrangement. Two weeks during the first halves of July and August. C is getting older now and his summers are becoming more his and less ours. Two weeks took me a long time to get used to. The first summer of this arrangement I spent many of those nights sleeping in his bed, cuddled in next to his baby blanket. I think this is the first year that I haven't spent at least one night in his absence in there. (to be honest the room is such a pigsty I cannot even find the bed)
Last year was his first year where he spent a good month away from us. He joined the Army Cadets the moment he turned twelve years old. That summer he got selected to go to camp for two weeks. Out of province! Two weeks away in the same city is one thing, but Provinces away is a whole new can of worms this overprotective mamma was not ready for. He called twice, and it made me feel so much better. So the first week was with his Dad, two weeks was his first of many steps into becoming a man, while the last week was with us. This year he got picked again to go to camp. This time it was for three weeks. So a whole month without my son. It will end up being pretty much a whole month and a half. I get him for a day or two in between. I also have not heard from him at all. We were supposed to be in another Province ourselves for holidays right now. So we never saw him off. My parents did. But situations changed and here we are.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about his absense. Whether it be Cadet camp or some other avenue he will end up exploring. My baby is becoming a man. He is headed to highschool in the fall. He no longer needs me to tie his shoes, comb his hair, tuck him in at night, and all the other things Mom's do. This doesn't mean he doesn't need me. My role has just changed slightly and he needs me less. In his absense I also noticed that he does do a lot around here. It may not be in the way I like it or in my timing, but it was helpful never-the-less. His chores are the kitchen and garbage. Now it is left up to me. It doesn't matter if I cooked, I still have to clean it. There is no one here to mind the children while I have a quick shower, or put the folded laundry away. Heck, even run to the store.
I know that when he gets back it'll feel like he never left and I'll be saying that I cannot wait until he's asleep or something to make me less frustrated. I do hope that I'll be able to remember how it feels right now. Without him here. That I can be a little less frustrated with his slowness. With the way he does something. To be patient in my wait for his hilarious funny moments where he's just being himself and not trying to be funny. To chill on my critical voice when I explain to him the umpteenth time how to sweep a floor properly. Or that the kitchen table still has tiny tomato fingerprints on it.
I hope to remember that he may act like a total PITA, but he's my PITA and my life would be significantly less without him.
What people don't know, is he was the reason I fought through many of my early stuff. I wasn't this gifting, loving person before. I was angry, beaten down, tired, a user. Then I had him and my life changed. Slowly, but it did. He was my first step toward living my life. The life I was so jealous of everyone else having. He taught me how to be selfless and put somebody else first. I sacrificed much of myself as a single mom. I know this sacrifice continually helps me today in my marriage and with my other kids. I so can't wait to see my boy and hear about his adventures at camp.