There is a journey that the mother of a son must take. It's a little bit like standing at the edge of a vast open field, with his hand firmly tucked into yours and nothing but the sound of the wind in the trees and your heart beating, steady in time to his. You know. You just know.
He looks at you, smiling. You know it's coming...that inevitable letting go...so that it can be planted and grow the way it is meant to. The way it can't, if it stays in the comfort of your shade. The knowledge of it is lodged down inside you like a tiny seed that will someday grow to be a redwood tree. You know. You just know.
You smile down at him reassuring, nodding while swallowing the lump and beaming your customary smile while each finger opens in slow motion, and he lets go, running into the wild. There will be so much joy there and quite likely, an equal measure of sorrow. You wish it didn't have to be that way, but to change it, would be to stop a process meant to refine the boy into the man. You know. You just know.
You watch, as he takes the hand of another. You know it's right and you're strong enough to bear it because in doing so, you strip yourself of the necklace of his own best interest and place it around the neck of someone whose goal is the same. If he's chosen well. And he has. You know. You just know.
When he comes to the edge of the field where you are standing and he holds out his hand to you, palms as wide open as his heart is, you look at what he is offering. This beautiful gift. Photographs that you didn't take. The chance to see him through the eyes of another who loves him. To see him the way she sees him. Strong. Capable. Creative. Loved. Hers. You know. You just know.
He tells you that there's a good chance she's leaving and that her world is breaking apart. That the world she lives in isn't the same for her that it is for him and that they will be separated by states, by time zones, by a life they are too young yet, to control and call their own. You remember with such tenderness that it takes your breath away... just what that felt like.
And you know. You just know.