all of the selves we Have ever been
Yesterday, the earth shook.
No one felt the tectonic plates shift except for me.
My son, Sam, my youngest child, left on his first business trip.
We prepared just as we have for so many other first days. There was shopping for the right clothes. Sam handled that himself, but he stopped by for help getting out the wrinkles. Then we shared a ride to the office supply store. No crayons or notebooks this trip. We were looking for techie travel gadgets and business card holders. Then we searched our respective closets for the right backpack. The shoes got polished.
After he returned to my home, Sam shared his travel itinerary. I noted that his return flight was scheduled to arrive at 1:30 AM. “How do you plan to get home at that hour?” I asked.
“I’ll grab a cab or call a Lyft,” he said.
I thought back to the shy, reserved little boy that he once was, and relived all of those firsts: first day of preschool, kindergarten, the start of each school year, summer camp, college, apartment…I thought of all those mornings when I had wrapped my arms around him, my body a superhero cape, and said,
"Don’t worry, Sam. It will be okay.”
While I was reflecting, Sam detected my emotions. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around me. A power lifter, the breadth of his shoulders is half my height. Each of his upper arms is the size of one of my thighs. I was completely surrounded by his embrace. “Don’t worry, mom,” he said. “It will be okay.”
And, just like that, the tables turned. No more pages left in the baby book. Sam wears the superhero cape now. Perhaps he will wrap it around a child of his own on some first day in the future. All of those other first days have added up to something. They have prepared him for this.
The world belongs to my children now. They understand it so much better than me—e-commerce, video games, streaming, telecommuting, ride-sharing…They are smart, capable and independent. They both have superhero capes in their closets. I know, I gave them each one. Everything will be okay.