There are many moments in my life I can point to and say, “That. That forced me to grow as a person.”
The miscarriage. Break-ups. Leaving the country.
When I stop to think about it, many of the instances in which I grew the most involved me leaving my mother, or my mother leaving me.
Early on, we leave our kids at daycare or with a babysitter.
Then, they go to school and mommies watch through bleary eyes and smeared mascara as their little ones nervously climb the steps to a new adventure.
My earliest memory of separation was my first day at grade school. I cried every day for a week. I’m not sure what personal growth occurred there, but the memory of teardrops falling into my Handi-Snacks is one I always call to mind.
More recent moments include waving good-bye to my mother on the opposite platform at a subway stop in Greece, hugging her tightly before she left me in my new apartment in Statesville, and watching her car pull away as I held my newborn son.
“I’m on my own,” I thought. Every. Time.
Why am I pondering these sad moments now? Because I’m about to have a separation of my own, only this time, I’m the mother.
It’s a moment I have been dreading for months.
My little Monster will have surgery this week. We are blessed that the issue he has can be resolved with an outpatient procedure and not something more serious, like we had initially feared.
Yet I know I will have a very difficult time watching them wheel his little body away from me and into the operating room.
How is he doing? He is rip-roaring excited to go to the hospital. We talk about everything that will happen and make it seem like an adventure, complete with “yummy juice” from the doctor and a nice, long sleep.
But when the day comes, will he be so thrilled? Or will he be scared as people with masks move around him with strange tools? Will he reach out for me in the moments before they put him under, only to find I’m not there to comfort him?
I know this good-bye is going to be more difficult than any I have had with him – including his first day at daycare or the time I had to leave him for more than a week for a work trip.
Just like the good-byes with my mother, I am trying to find something to take my mind off the sadness. Monster coming out of anesthesia? Bound to be hilarious, right? An hour of free wifi and no children to bother me? Having an excuse to cuddle for hours and hours when we get home?
To my dismay, nothing is really taking the edge off, not even wine (which I have tried several times).
This good-bye likely will not help me to grow as a person, and my baby boy may not have any memory of it years from now.
I’m a little lost as to how to handle this moment, so I’ll have to call in an expert: my mom. She’ll be on speed dial seconds after my little man embarks on his hospital adventure. If anyone understands a teary good-bye, it’s her.