Just before 6am, chilly in an unfamiliar bed in a rustic fishing cabin, I try to burrow deeper under a strange, thin blanket, and I listen as my little guy leaves the house with the men.
He’s small for his age, barely the size of an eight year old, though he’s actually nearing the end of his elementary school years. How does he qualify for manhood?
Answered easily enough: by waking at dawn without complaint, and by catching more than his fair share of last night’s dinner. So far, he has out-fished Grandpa, 15 fish to Grandpa’s ten.
With my older child gone away to camp and the younger snapping on a life jacket and struggling valiantly to lift–by himself–the smallest Igloo cooler, there are no small bodies left to join me for a morning snuggle. To warm the child, of course, but also very much to warm my heart.
There are no softly snoring or sleepy heads peeping out of heaped blankets that I can kiss on my way to put the kettle on.
I tried to go back to sleep, but there’s nothing that can fill the vacant space where my babies should be except writing this down, letting it out, making room for them to grow… and, eventually, to go.
There’s the heartbreak of a mother’s job well done.