Friday, December 14, 2012

If I had known it was the last hug...

Taken December 13, 2009

If I had known that it was the last hug I would ever give you on this side - I wouldn't have let go. I would have clung to you like my very life depended on it. Three years ago, today, I drove you to the Charlotte airport. I had taken you to the airport many other times before that day. By that time, you had been living away for 18 months. You had traveled to Oklahoma, to Alaska, to Kuwait, to Iraq and back again. You had seen a war and still came home to me. I remember that day was cloudy and cold. It looked like it would snow even though it didn't. On that day - we had a new (to us) van and we could all take you back to the airport. Well, your dad had to work, but your Grandma, Tusie Michelle, Savannah, Sebastian and me - we all came along for the ride back to the airport. I had a pit in my stomach. Why did you have to be stationed in Alaska? Why did it have to be so far away? Why couldn't I have more money - so I could just fly up there and see you whenever I wanted? Lots of why's going through my mind that day. I don't even remember what we talked about on that 2 hour drive. I remember you sitting next to me in the passenger seat. I can still see you with my memory. You looked so amazing! So grown up, so everything I had ever hoped you would be. I hated getting to the drop off at the airport. I hate how I always feel rushed at those airport drop offs. I feel like don't they know that we are telling the people we love goodbye! I know they need to keep it moving, but I just want to spend a few more minutes with my child. He is my child and he is leaving on a long trip and he won't be home for months. Please, understand how hard this is for me. But, the airport people don't care about this. So, you hug quickly and you tell him you love him and to BE GOOD because that is what you always say to him. He laughs is big, goofy laugh and before you know it - he is walking into that airport away from you. The whole family is silent as we drive away. We are all thinking the same thing - what Sebastian said just a few days before - it STINKS that he has to live in Alaska. Even at 5 years old - he gets how hard this is. I can still smell his cologne on me and in the seat next to me. It is like a wisp of him is still riding back with us. We stop at a Chick-Fil-A on the way home from Charlotte. I think my heart chooses Chick-Fil-A because Timmy's spirit is always at Chick-Fil-A for me ever since he put on that cow costume. I remember sitting at the table looking out the window at the grey sky. I felt a strange feeling that day. Maybe it was intuition that that was the last hug on this side. I felt numb. Do you know what it feels like to have a piece of your heart fly away to Alaska? When I look back now - if I had known it was the last time I would hug you on this side - I would have looked into your sweet face and memorized every part of it. I would have buried my head into your big arms and breathed in deep that mix of you and cologne. I would have told you how much you mean to me and how my blessed my life has been because of you. I would have never let go.

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