A Goodbye

May 11, 2010

My son gave me a good, real hug when he left home. It was the kind of full on, full pressure, hands on back “I love you too” hug that one doesn’t get every day; and it squeezed the words out of me:

“You’ll call me. We’ll talk. You can call me any time you need.”

As I type these words, my eyes are leaking. There must be something wrong with them because they did that after the hug and before my son got in the truck to ride away. His five-year-old nephew was having a hard time coping that day, and hadn’t said his proper “goodbyes” to his uncle or the friends who were taking the uncle away. So we offered the five-year-old the chance to say “goodbye” through the open window. My son pressed his hand against the screen, and his nephew pressed back… hand-to-hand “I love yous.” Then my eyes started to leak, and my son looked up and smirked.

Yep, mommies feel these moments that make their eyes overflow, and eighteen-year-old sons say “I love you” with hugs and hands and smirks, and maybe all of it is working just as it should.

A nice thing… goodbyes.  They work our machinery, release smirks and tears, and it’s okay.

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6 Responses to “A Goodbye”

  1. Kim Ashby said

    This is lovely. Poignant, tear-inducing, and the kind of writing that puts a finger right on a mother’s heart. I love the description of the hug that squeezed the words out of you and the hand-to-hand “I love you through the screen.

    Wonderful. Just wonderful.

  2. kenhoney said

    Yes. It’s okay. If by okay you mean sad and terrifying and liberating.

  3. Michelle said

    The indelible mark a ‘goodbye’ leaves on the heart. It reminds us to cherish the ‘hellos’ when we receive them yet again.

    I look forward to my next goodbye a little more after reading this. Thank you.

  4. Laura said

    A good reminder to treasure those hugs while I am still getting them multiple times every day. And there’s nothing wrong with your eyes: mine are leaking too now.

  5. Dale said

    No plumber required. Might be that we need an epidemiologist, though, ‘cuz there seems to be an epidemic . . .

  6. mattpaw said

    I’ve never been comfortable with goodbyes to loved ones. Maybe Ken’s explained why. Even the liberation that comes with goodbying overstayed guests has some of the sadness, if not the terror – unless it’s that they’ll think of a reason to stay even longer.

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