There we were driving over the back roads to the small Christian school my son attends and just like that summer was over.
Sure we had one more day before school officially began but on that humid summer night I felt a tight feeling in my chest and knew it was because the carefree days when I could hug him on a whim anytime throughout the day had come to an end for another year.
Here we were – his fifth grade year.
I felt a catch in my spirit. I mentally reached out for an imaginary lever to slow it all down but like usual the lever wouldn’t work.
I was sure it had only been a few weeks since I’d walked him into that school for the first time, him frightened and crying because he didn’t want me to leave. I cried too, all the way home, and at home.
At the end of each day I picked him up and he ran fast to me across the gym with his arms wide open and the widest, most excited smile on his face.
His hair was soft against my cheek and I loved the way he leaned into me, his comfort at the end of a long day.
On this night, a parents night to learn more about the new year and meet new staff, he ran away from me to see what was new. He’s independent now, excited for a new year and in some ways he doesn’t need Mom anymore.
But then there are those nights I hear him at my bedroom door and he tiptoes into the darkness and I ask what’s wrong.
“Can I have a hug?” he’ll ask, like he often does throughout the day, no matter where we are.
“I just need a hug,” he says, and I know he wants to sleep next to me for the rest of the night.
I give him the hug and let him sleep next to me because I know one day he won’t want me to hug him or hold him, at least not very often .
I kiss his head on those nights and I feel his hair soft against my cheek and I close my eyes.
I breathe it all in because for these few moments, maybe a few hours, he needs me to be his comfort again.