He’s Leaving Me

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.

1st grade school picture

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.

looking back

18 thoughts on “He’s Leaving Me

  1. Cut it out, Charlene!!! You’re doing it to me again.

    This is exactly how I first discovered you years ago when you were blogging on Skirt. I remember crying (literally sobbing and wiping away tears) from the first ever post I’ve read from you about your relationship with Chandler and how it was changing. How his boyhood innocence had gone away and how the two of you used to be conjoined at the hip and then he no longer wanted to be constantly by your side every waking moment. That sent me into a tailspin of tears because I was experiencing the exact same thing with my oldest son. That transition from little boy to pre-teen/teenager was heartwrenching, and sadly, I still haven’t gotten over it. Nevertheless, currently, I have a whole year and a half before my son leaves for college (he’s now in 11th grade), and I guarantee it’s going to rip at my soul.

    So as for you, Miss Charlene, my heart goes out to you for this next chapter in Chandler’s life (you’ll have to give me pointers how to handle it). But as for me, Miss Charlene, CUT IT OUT!!! I don’t want to think about it right now. I was already bawling over him last summer, and all we were doing was visiting potential colleges.

    Cut it out, Charlene! I’m too sensitive. 🙂

    • Demetria, it’s not on purpose, I promise! College tours made me cry too. But they were happy tears. (Mostly.) I’m so excited for Chandler in this next phase of his life. Even if it is killing me (more than just) a little bit!

  2. Our situations are a little different but I’m the mom that cried when her first son learned to crawl bc it meant that some day he would now be able to leave me.

    I am sad for you and sad for me bc this is what we get for doing our jobs right: they grow into healthy happy men. Sniff.

    • One of my greatest wishes for my kids has been that they go to college out of state because I didn’t have that experience. But of course you know what they say about being careful what you wish for. (Looks like I’m gonna get it!) 🙂

  3. O, my heart)))
    All these little deaths we need to face.
    It’s so DAMN hard when they grow wings.
    I think we need a support group.
    PS. he will leave physically, but NEVER emotionally. Of course, you already know that.


  4. This will be me in 15 years, Charlene. And I want you to remember so you don’t laugh at me when I’m crying my eyes out. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing! I just cried. My son is 5, the thought of him one day having to leave me makes me so sad but so proud. As I know that as a momma you are probably extremely proud of your son and the opportunities and options he has created with your guidance!

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Connie!

      I am so proud of my son and so happy for him. This is truly the most exciting part of his life (so far). As sad as I am (for me) to see him go, I am 1000 times more happy for him. (At least most days!)

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