When my daughter and I jumped off my front porch yesterday to take a stroll up the street with my friend Laurie and her beautiful baby boy, Adam, I was light and happy. It was a good day, a day I didn’t go to work and decided to take a bike ride, a run, and make chicken soup instead. I had just gotten off the phone with my oldest son, Cal — now safely tucked 1000 miles away into his dorm room at University of South Carolina. He’d told me that although many of his friends were homesick and having a difficult time, that he was having the time of his life and he was ridiculously happy. (“Really? You don’t miss me a little bit?”)….. But of course, a son’s happiness is what a mother wants, so I was happy. Mostly.
Laurie was walking her son to see the train at the end of the street. I walked with them explaining how I once knew the train schedule by heart and how I ran to the bridge four or five times a day with my boys, Calvin and Aidan, when they were tiny little engineer-want-to-be’s. It was nice to talk about the halloween costumes I had made the year the boys begged to be “the Commuter Rail Train”and how that was no easy feat. Although, my lame attempts at costume making caused them to be mistaken for hobo’s by every teacher and trick-or-treater, it didn’t matter to them. Cal and Aidan knew that they WERE the commuter rail, metal wheels on their feet and oil in their veins.
As we stood on the bridge in anticipation of the train, , watching the light race toward us, feeling the rumble in our legs as it sped beneath, my hand reached out for Adam’s tiny warm arm. In a flash of light and wind and noise I was fifteen years younger and standing with Calvin, holding him up to the fence so he could be as close as safely possible, while feeling the train with his whole body. I let the tears run unabashadly down my face, not attempting to wipe them away, until my daughter brought me back to the present in her ever-annoyed voice, “Mooom, are you crying? Gawd, MOM.”
“You people are going to miss me when I am gone,” Cal had said before he left for college. “I’m the only one with a sense of humor around here.”
“Yah, right, Cal, whatever you say, ” I had said with the best eye-roll I could muster.
Please don’t tell him I was wrong….