Saturday morning I had a dream that Chandler was five years-old. Even in the dream I knew Chandler wasn’t really five. “What’s five year-old Chandler doing here,” I thought to myself.
We were getting out of the car. I came around to his side and he hugged me tight, like he used to hug me. All in. He still hugs me now, but only when I ask for one. He’s so tall and skinny. His hugs are boney. He’ll hug me as long as I want, but his hugs are dutiful. The perfunctory hug of a good son.
“I love you so much, Mommy,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. Like his life depended on it.
“I love you too, Chandler,” I said as I hugged him back with equal ferocity.
We held hands as we walked inside the house and once we crossed the threshold he was eighteen year-old Chandler again.
I told him about my dream as I drove him to school to drop him off at the bus for a track meet. “I love you, Mommy,” he said sweetly. Then he said, “I had a dream the other night that Coach H told me I had a five percent chance of getting in.” He was referring to the coach at his top-choice college. Not his reach school, but the school he thinks he’d most like to attend.
“That’s just a stress dream because the decisions are coming in in the next few weeks. It’s probably why I’m dreaming of you being five. Because you’re leaving me soon.” I hadn’t realized the significance of the dream until the words left my mouth.
He’s leaving me soon.
It’s March. Chandler has applied to six colleges. The reach (where he likely won’t get in) is an hour’s drive; the rest of them are far away. Four are out of state. The decisions will all be in by March 30th.
And then he’ll have to decide where he’s going when he leaves me.