God Bless This Mess
I just heard a song called “God Bless This Mess,” by Jillian Jacqueline, and it made me smile, because for the last week, those words perfectly embody everything I’ve been feeling. You see, my summer break with my two kids came to an end on Wednesday and I felt heartbroken taking them to the airport and watching them leave. It’s always so hard to see them leave, and it never gets any easier. It’s like ripping a scab off, leaving the wound fresh again, exposed and painful. Just when you think it’s finally healing, it’s raw again.
Luckily, this time, I was given a special access pass to take them all the way to the gate and wait with them to board the plane, which in my case, means an extra two hours with them. Two hours might seem silly to some parents who are with their kids full time, hoping and praying for small stolen moments of peace and quiet, but for parents like me, two hours is a precious gift from the heavens. I gave them one final hug (in all honestly, it was the fifth since we’d arrived at the gate) and they reluctantly agreed. Because at 13 and 15, the last thing you want is another freaking hug from your mom! I watched them leave with the gate agent to take their flight back to their dad for the next year.
And then the floodgates opened, as they inevitably always do. It’s the exact moment when they walk out of sight that the scab comes off, leaving me exposed, raw, broken all over again. And like I always do, I leaned into that pain. I felt it, I welcomed it, and then I began the whole process of healing all over again.
On my way home, I looked at the pictures of the last month on my phone, watched the videos, and smiled through the tears, choosing to focus on the joyful memories we’d made in the last month. The laughs, the movies watched together cuddling on the couch, the requests for back rubs and head scratches I gladly doled out, the conversations about everything and anything, and even the moments I watched them sleep, marveling at how incredible they are. I haven’t been lucky enough to be with them every single day of their lives for the last seven years, but I see what amazing human beings they are growing up to be. I’ve done my best to be as present as I can be for the last seven years. I’ve gotten creative in how I let them know I’m always here for them. And on this trip, I caught glimpses of how this has impacted them—how even though I am not physically there with them every day, the times spent together and the other ways in which I find to be present have contributed to shaping them.
As I got home, the tears had already started to dry up, although the hole in my heart was far from healed. Does it truly ever heal? I doubt it. It just gets to a point where you learn to accept that life is exactly how it should be. I get to a point where I trust that this is all part of the path I am meant to be on. We all come to this Earth with lessons to learn. I think one of the biggest lessons is letting go, and maybe that’s why my kids don’t live with me full time.
One of my biggest fears in life has always been being alone. And yet, here I am, year after year, having to say goodbye to my kids one more time, without having a set time and place when I will see them again. I am slowly learning that it’s okay to say goodbye, and it’s okay for them to leave. Perhaps, in a strange way, my kids are learning the same lessons I am. And maybe, just maybe, we are healing the karmic lesson around dependency. Maybe we are learning that it’s okay to be alone, and that it doesn’t have to hurt so much.
They say that you should not look to the outside for happiness, that true happiness can only be found when going inward. I am learning this, day by day…learning that I can’t count on my kids, my spouse, my friends, to make me happy. I am learning that if I find happiness within myself, I can bring happiness to my life, and therefore share my happiness with others. So, as I sit here and reflect, I can’t help but sing, “God bless this mess…”