And they just keep coming. These lessons in letting go. The branching out. The getting older, growing up. Each day I am tested in a new way. As much as I want to hold on these children of mine keep spreading their wings.
On Saturday Tommy had his first sleepover. It is actually the first sleepover in our family as Joe had a few sleepovers planned but they kept getting cancelled due to illnesses and such. Anyway, the stars aligned and Tommy was invited to his friend's house on a weekend we didn't have any major plans. And the little cold Tommy had earlier in the week had subsided just in time.
Saturday morning when Tommy awoke he immediately began packing his overnight bag even though he wouldn't be going to his friend's house until 4 o'clock. To say he was excited would be an enormous understatement. Luckily, he had a four hour First Communion preparation class to attend that morning to take his mind off the impending evening of fun.
The afternoon had finally rolled around, after what felt like a lifetime to him I'm sure, and Tommy checked and double checked his backpack to make sure he had what he needed. He grabbed his pillow and sleeping bag for his first ever big boy night away from home. And minutes before he headed out the door for his first night away I watched him slide his lambie tenderly into his pillowcase. Immediately a knot formed in my throat.
Such a juxtaposition of baby and big boy. I know Tommy felt so grown up and yet he grabbed his lambie that he has slept with since birth and carried it with him.
Tommy's night went really well. He had a blast. We were a little more subdued at our house. We jumped every time the phone rang (yes, we worry too much) and we all remarked at how the house felt strange with one of us missing. It was a feeling none of us liked, this empty spot in the room, at the table. And when Todd mentioned how strange it will be when one by one our kids grow up and move out of our house and I had to choke the rest of my food down through my tears.
In the end, Todd and I decided that none of our kids shall ever be allowed to go to a sleepover again. Okay, we're not that mean, but it was harder than we thought. We missed our Tommy. I tackled him the minute he walked through the door and hugged him and smooched him every time he walked by. Tommy would roll his eyes but there was a smile on his face and I knew he enjoyed being missed.
I hugged each of my kids a little tighter today during church, snuggling each of them in close to me when I could. So thankful for the family that God has given me, and this time we get to share together, no matter how quickly it seems to rush by.