It was the tail end of one of the most brutal winters New York had ever seen. Dirty drifts of snow that were once pristine, holding promises of sleigh rides and snowmen, now lingered stubbornly. It was not the best time to pick to move. It made leaving our family home all the harder, logistically and emotionally. The grayness and hopelessness hung in the air.
Leaving is hard. But for me, that house held so many bad memories, was such a burden financially, I had no other choice. Plus, the New York real estate market was plummeting; I wanted to walk away with something to show for the hell that had gone on in the past ten years. For my son, however, it was the end of his childhood; heaps of bikes laying in our driveway, sleep overs, block parties, happiness. I, his mother, was ending all that in one swipe of a pen.
Everything changed that day. I left the empty house one last time, on the way to the closing, dodging puddles and mounds of snow. I was late, of course. My son pulled up next to me in his truck. I examined his face. My boy was becoming a man, a new driver. Somehow though, he looked oddly misplaced behind the wheel, as if he should be racing his BMX up the hill that was once our driveway. I looked deeper into his eyes. They were ice cold. “This is a hard day for him,” I thought.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the day my son became lost to me. Words, gestures, love, nothing would fill the chasm that had somehow grown between us.It was if those big dirty mounds of snow were glaciers that left broken earth in their path, separarting us forever. I tore him from his childhood, unhappy as it was, into uncertainty. He would never trust me again.
There are certain things that we, as parents, steadfastly believe. One is that our children will always love us, that no matter what, we will always find our way back “home” to each other. I believed this with all my soul. Sadly, it’s not a given. Of all the truths I have had to face in my life, this has been the hardest.I feel like those big ugly piles of snow; no more sleigh rides or snow men, just waiting pitilessly to melt.
PHOTO CREDIT – She Knows