Saw three of my former students and selected family this morning as I approached the security checkpoint. They were streaked with tears. Sobbing, eyes red. They had just said goodbye to Maggie, their exchange student friend from Italy. That’s hard stuff. I was running a bit late, so we talked for a couple of minutes, gave hugs, exchanged knowing looks, and I headed through the TSA gauntlet. I wish I knew what to say, but perhaps words were not really worth much this morning anyway.
I had a layover yesterday. At home. It was a 24-hour layover, but the connection was tight; I almost missed my plane this morning. I have a feeling that this year is going to be tough on me, but much tougher on Jen and the kids. Aspen and I had a good day together yesterday: hugs, laughs, projects, books, snuggles. When I tucked him in last night, he told me to come into their room in the morning and give him a kiss goodbye. “If I don’t wake up, give me a little shake on the shoulders,” he requested. “If I still don’t wake up, just give me another kiss.” I love that little guy.
Tawnya Layne, the better of the two 7th grade science teachers at my school, remarked once that the hardest part about raising teenagers is that you just don’t get the same daily physical contact; the hugs, kisses and snuggles, that you do when they’re little. I will never forget that. (She and her husband, about to become empty nesters, have decided to adopt a couple of youngsters. Bold move! She’s amazing.) So I’m milkin’ it for all it’s worth with Aspen and Johanna, for it might not always be this good. For any of us.
Perhaps that’s why we marry, or seek intimate companionship. I know I miss the snuggles already, and I only left home an hour ago. This is going to be a hard year for all of us. My eyes are already beginning to feel red, and it’s not from dry airplane air or from wearing my contacts too long. Haley, Corey, Krissy, Kelsi, I feel your pain this morning. Probably not as intensely as you, but I’ll be spreading mine over the whole year in little doses. Thanks for the hugs, I’ll be needing those, too.