by Suzanne Reisler Litwin
We hugged each other a little bit longer this time. I kissed his cheek. He stepped back and looked into the depths of my eyes. Then he turned away and walked towards the football field. He walked about 20 steps, paused and turned back to see me. He walked another 30 steps, paused, turned back and gave a gentle wave. He continued to walk with his head slightly down. I watched him walk away. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
He walked up the hill onto the football field. At the top of the hill, he stopped, waved then walked behind some trees. At that moment, I lost sight of him.
My youngest child had just walked into his life at school, away from home, and away from me.
I covered my mouth and started to cry tears of joy, of gratitude, happiness and a drop of grief. It was a loss and a gain, all at the same time. More so, it was time for me to leave and leave him behind. It was time for me to leave his childhood and clip the ties. It was his time to leave the nest and fly.
I thought I was ready and prepared for this moment in time. I mentally and emotionally prepared myself. I felt confident in my preparation.
I wasn’t prepared.
I cried for a very long time. Perhaps long enough that my face was itchy from my salty tears.
As I was driving away from his school, I replayed many of his childhood moments. All the best and good ones. For some reason, I couldn’t remember any of the difficult memories.
Time has passed and we are getting used to the new quiet at home. Our son is getting used to his new life at school. Time is the greatest healer.
I suppose you are never really ready to say goodbye to someone that you love to the end of the earth.
So how do I manage this? I placed this moment of time into a “bottle”. It’s not a real bottle, but a place in my mind that keeps these moments. Whenever I want to revisit these moments, I simply imagine that I am opening a “bottle of time”.
Last winter I went skiing on what I would describe as the perfect 10 out of 10 day. A snowstorm had just passed. There were 20-30 centimetres of dry snow on the ground. The sun was shining and the temperature was mild. It was a perfect ski day. The cross-country tracks were freshly groomed and the trails were rated, “EXCELLENT”. It was the perfect day to ski. I packed my lunch, a small bottle of wine, and off I went.
I skied, ate, drank and sat in sun rays all day. It was a glorious day. As the sun was setting on this perfect ski day, I thought to myself that this day needed to be bottled. So, I bottled it. It’s etched in my memory as one of the greatest ski days ever!
During the summer when I can’t tolerate the heat, I gladly open that bottle of time and remember the perfection of that day. Even now, I see it so clearly in my mind that I can feel the joy I felt then.
I have so many bottles of time in my mind. When life gets rough, I dig down deep and open the ones which build my spirits and get me through the rough patches.
My most recent bottle is of the moment my son walked into his new life at school.
I will never forget the moment he walked up the hill onto the football field. I will never forget how he turned back to wave. I will never forget when I lost sight of him behind the trees and realized it was time for me to leave. All these memories are now inside a bottle of time.
Some bottles are filled with joy, happy, sad and horrible moments. The good thing is, they are all stored and kept in storage for when I need them.
I wonder if you have a life moment which can be stored in a bottle of time?
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.