Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bye bye baby

I’m now at an airport three hours from home and am in the process of putting many more hours and miles between myself and River.

The hardest part by far is the moment of leaving, followed by the time leading up to the separation. The time after leaving, by comparison, is easy. I held myself together for his sake. It wouldn’t do him any good to see me cry or to feel my anxiety. Mark dropped me off, I hugged River in his carseat, and at my request, Mark drove off. The quick goodbye was easier on both of us than a prolonged one would have been.

I prepared as well as I could. The plane crash in Buffalo only brought home even more the reminder that life is precious and can end at any time. I spent quality time with both Mark and River in the days before leaving, my last words to both of them were filled with love, I even left a note in the fire box, in case something should happen, to remind them once more of my feelings for them.

As this date approached, I wasn’t very excited about the trip. I’m still not. Perhaps that will come with landing in a foreign environment. What I was excited about was the time at the airport. I imagined myself free of the responsibility of a young child, engaging in luxurious reading, writing, window shopping and napping. That sounded heavenly to me. Now that it’s here, yes I’m writing and yes I’m free of distractions. But I’m just tired and not enjoying it as much as I thought I might. I’d rather be playing with River.

This morning, shortly before leaving, I took River on a walk. Usually I listen to audiobooks while walking. It’s the only way I get any real reading done these days. But today, like in the past few days, I didn’t want to wear the ipod. I think I was subconsciously saving up moments to carry with me. I didn’t want to be separated from my environment, but instead wanted to hear it – the passing trucks, the dialogue of pedestrians, the rustle of the wind, River’s little babbles. I locked in the image of his small white hands gripping the stroller bar as he looked out at the scenery and the feeling of the stroller rhythmically rocking as he moved his body back and forth. I also took several photos of his activities this morning – clamoring to get up on my lap, lying flat on the floor and reaching under the TV stand in a search for balls, eating breakfast, and playing on his rocking horse – that I carry with me on my digital camera and help me to relive our last hours together.

I write as if he’s dead, or as if I am. There are a lot of things worse than a three week and three day separation. But I wonder if, to him, it may seem as though mommy is dead, or gone forever. It feels like I’ve left a part of myself behind. In a sense, I have. At the same time, while we come from the same flesh, we are individuals and we’ll need to travel in different directions at certain points in life. Knowing that we’ll come together again makes me happy.

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