Last weekend I took my two youngest up to Las Vegas to a baseball showcase at UNLV for my son to check out the campus and for them to check him out. We have family in Vegas so it was a perfect opportunity on so many levels. I love when things work out like that. We drove up the night before so that we could relax and take our time the first day of the showcase and it worked out perfectly. I asked my cousin if my daughter could spend the day with her and she was thrilled to take her. I didn't realize how much I miss having that living so far away from my family. I knew that she would be well taken care of and have the best time and I could focus on my son without worrying. Such a blessing.
As my 16 year old and I took off to the campus I was feeling such peace and contentment but I knew he was feeling anxious. I started feeling it too since the last time he visited a campus he was with his dad and it was less than stellar, shall we say. We found the field and signed him in and went to sit in the stands. We were chatting about everything as always and he let out a sigh of relief and said "You see mom, this is why YOU have to take me to this stuff. You don't stress me out or bring me down I'm totally relaxed now. You have to promise me that you will take me to every showcase and college tour!" Alrighty then. Point taken. I had been working the weekend he went to the last camp and it was a last minute invitation from a coach who had seen him the week before otherwise I would have been there. But I got the message.
His attitude certainly showed on the field. After recovering from his surgery over the summer he was finally back with his usual intensity and passion and skill. I was teary eyed in the stands and so excited to see it! He was overjoyed in the car and seemed to like the campus a lot and had a good feeling with the coaches. The weekend passed and I had such joy in my heart, being around family and watching him on the field, it was just perfect. Sunday was the last day of the camp and it was pouring rain and freezing cold. Yet, there I sat under an umbrella covered in blankets with gloves and just feeling so content. Then we went into the coaches meeting. On the way I stepped in a huge puddle and the blankets that were keeping me dry suddenly soaked my jeans. Hmmmm....this day was turning.
The coaches talk was overwhelming to say the least. He described what my boys life would be like as a player at a D1 school. It sounded grueling and exhausting yet I looked over at him and he was beaming. I cried. The tears slid silently down my face as I listened intently to what it would take to get him here. My heart started aching that familiar ache I had felt 4 years ago when my oldest son was a junior in high school. He was leaving. I wouldn't see him every day. And according to these coaches I would be lucky to get a weekly phone call. I wasn't ready. We had been through so much together, he and I are connected in a way that no one else can understand. I also don't know where he will wind up. My oldest was only 3 hours away. Depending on which school offers him the best situation for baseball my baby boy could wind up across the country. I will have to be okay with that. I will do whatever it takes and everything in my power to help him fulfill his dreams! Luckily, that makes me too busy to dwell on the rest of it right now.
I said to him, hmmm maybe if you play here we will move to Vegas. His eyes lit up. Well that was squashed when my daughter firmly said she wasn't leaving her friends or being the new kid in school. Alrighty then. I know it will all work out the way it is supposed to and God has it in His firm grasp so I'm open to whatever comes. This morning I woke up and I had that pang in my heart that he was going to be leaving before I knew it. It reminded me of when my oldest went to Kindergarten and I was bawling. Everyone couldn't understand, they looked at me like I was nuts. "Well you still have D at home". Yes, obviously I did, but hellooooooo D wasn't R! They aren't interchangeable! My kids are 3 individuals who can't be swapped out for the other. Just like when R went to college and people said "What are you so upset for, you still have 2 at home!" OMG they aren't place markers to just fill up a chair at the dinner table. Jeez. They are individuals who each have a different and equally special place in my heart and in my life.
So now, as I prepare to have D leave the nest (and if his dreams come true, he won't be back for any long periods of time again) my heart aches and the sobs come and the tears flow just as much as they did with R. I didn't think that would happen. I thought I was prepared. I thought I was adjusted. After all R is back home and even though our relationship is much different then before it's still close and there. Nope, no such luck. Having D leave might actually be harder. Hell, what am I saying it will definitely be harder. Because we have a different relationship and he will be in a different situation. The thought of not being in the stands every time he plays and not knowing how he was feeling after a game makes me physically sick to my stomach. I will miss him every bit as much as I missed R even though I know he will keep in better contact with me then his brother did. I know he will miss me just as much. And the fact that I will still have 2 kids at home with me (maybe only 1 by that time who knows) doesn't make me feel any better. They aren't interchangeable....they are my babies and I will feel every emotion with each one of them like it was the first time....because it will be---for them.