There are times when my mind flashes forward and sends back an image of what the future might look like. It happened last night when I was having dinner with my two boys. Asher was sitting on my lap and Everest was at his spot at the head of the table. There was something in Everest’s hand gestures that triggered the future-mind response, and I suddenly saw him sitting at this same dining room table, 24 years old, tall, confident, an easy smile on his face. Maybe it’s what I hope for him; maybe it’s a fragment from a dream that’s spliced into daytime consciousness. Whatever it is, it leaves me feeling both happy and sad: happy to see a glimpse of an imagined future and sad that time just keeps moving forward and the little, adorable, innocent six year old that sits before me will one day be all grown up.
As I fell asleep last night I pondered the image and what it elicited inside me. I thought about my life’s work of teaching others (and myself, of course – we teach what we need to learn) about letting go. I thought about all of the letting go that will happen between now and then: when he has his first crush and the tendrils that bind him exclusively to me begin to loosen. When he gets his driver’s license and drives off in a car alone (God help me!). When he graduates from high school and leaves home for college (perhaps we’ll be so blessed that he attends a local college…?). When he travels the world. When he falls truly in love and asks for her hand in marriage. Oh my.
And then I wondered: if I can see the 24 year old in the 6 year old, will I also be able to see the 6 year old in the 24 year old? When he walks into his childhood house for Thanksgiving and other holidays, will my mind flash backward and catch a glimpse of the little six year old who sat at this table one night in October 2010? Will I hear his feet scampering wildly around the house? Will I flash on him and Asher wrestling in the living room, both so small? When he stands at the altar waiting for his beloved to walk down the aisle, will I see the little boy within the grown man while I sit in the front row, crying tears of joy and sorrow? I hope so.