Brothers saying goodbye.

Today is my birthday. I’m 44.

I’ll always remember this day. Not because of my birthday, though.

Today I finished coursework for my MFA in Creative Writing.

But even bigger than that, I left my baby in New York City. By himself. Without me.

I know Zachary will be fine. He’s mature. He’s self-sufficient. He’s smart and talented. He’s modest and kind-hearted. He listens to mentors and puts all he has in the work he’s doing. I don’t worry about him. Much.

I worry about me.

What’s gonna happen to me?

Now that Zachary is in NYC and starting classes tomorrow, his big brother, Tyler, will most likely head to California in the next few weeks or months to pursue his film career. I guess I should have expected that when he graduated film school.

What a wonderful summer having both of them home… seeing them hang out together… and laugh… I love the laughs most… and the hugs.

For almost 23 years, I’ve been a mom. And every decision I’ve made, every move, every action, has been what I thought was the best option for them. I worked so hard to provide for them (not very well sometimes), to discipline them, to encourage them, to support them, to create a loving, safe family environment for them.

The greatest joys in my life were the moments they were placed in my arms. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean.

And though I suspected it, no one told me when I held those little babies for the first time that they would grow up and go explore lives of their own.

I’m staring down the face of having a child on each coast of this great big country, and I’m wondering what happens to me.

It hasn’t been 12 hours yet since we left New York, but I miss him so much already. And Tyler hasn’t even left and I am ready for him to come back.

I know. People tell me all the time. “You’ll find lots to do.” “You’ll enjoy them being gone so much.” One parent told me she couldn’t wait for her child to be gone.

Not me.

I have no doubt I will find a project or direction or simply work on getting caught up on all those things that took a backseat 23 years ago.

But I will miss my family being together. I will miss my boys.

New York, please take care of Zach. Don’t eat him alive. Help him thrive. Don’t injure his spirit or his heart. Help him find what he’s seeking.

I know he’s in God’s hands.

But I miss him all the same.