At this point in my life I’m really good at packing. I can fit an unbelievable amount of stuff into a small space.
Tonight’s packing is different than any other.
Tonight I am packing Gup’s things for his new home. Tonight, after I read him his last nighttime story, held his hand while he repeated after me, “now I lay me down to sleep…” Tonight, after his very last bath and the last time I kissed his forehead… Tonight I sit in front of 2 empty cases and try to figure out what to send him with. His clothes of course, a few shirts he just unwrapped 2 days ago. I haven’t even had a chance to dress him in some of them. He has 2 snugglies that he sleeps with every night, he will need them when he is trying to fall asleep in that new place. I will send them but selfishly I want to keep one. I want something to sleep with when he goes, something that smells like him, something that he used to hold. I add them both.
Blankets, towels. Today we received a big box from Joe and Jill, it had 2 huge packets of diapers. Throw them both in. Cups that have always been “his” snack bowls, favorite treats. Toys… so many toys. For each one I add, a thousand memories. For each I don’t send along, a thousand feelings of guilt. I want to send it all, every single thing that fills up his home here, I want him to have there. And then there is the part of me that can’t imagine sending it all away. The living room will feel too empty, too clean. I need his things around me, I need to trip over his cars and stub my toe on the airplane he left out for the thousandth time. I want a part of him with me when he is gone, but I want to send all of me with him when he leaves.
I put in an extra tube of toothpaste, his little toothbrush and comb. Shampoo, soap and baby powder… I try to think of everything. I know I’m forgetting something. How could all this life, all of these memories be piled into 2 bags, sitting by the door, waiting, glaring at me, reminding me of what is about to happen.
Now the packing is over. The last bath, goodnight story, rock in the chair in the corner and bedtime prayer. The last tuck in and kiss on the forehead. I turn out the lights but I don’t leave… I sit along the wall and watch in the dim light as his chest rises and falls. I sit and I cry, it’s ok because it’s dark, he can’t see me. I sit and I watch and I pray for time to stop but it doesn’t. The seconds pass and then from the other room Annabel starts to fuss. My other baby. She needs me now and so I turn around a close the door. I wipe my eyes and I go to her… I rock her in the chair in the corner, in a room that is too quiet and too clean. I pray over her head and I with every whispered breath I thank God for His sovereign plan and for the strength He has promised. I thank Him for the gift of 430 days to love and hold him. Most of the time I thank Him, I try not to blame Him… I’m doing pretty good at that, but sometimes I fall down, sometimes I get angry, sometimes I scream out cause it all sucks so bad.
Tonight I go to bed and 2 suitcases sit by the door, much different than any other time I have slept with packed bags waiting for a journey. This time morning will not bring scurried excitement, dashing off the the airport and flying away to a place I call home… This time home will be further away than just a car ride or a flight, this time my home is further than it ever has been, held in the heart of a little boy who does not understand, while he sleeps and dreams away the last precious hours.