A month after graduation, I packed my bags. I was allowed one suitcase and two carry-ons so I boxed everything else up, carefully winding tape around and around half a dozen boxes. I was looking forward to the cross-country move. Growing up in a small town, the goal had always been the same: Get out.
And at first, I didn’t look back. Of course I missed my family and my friends, but I was looking to the future instead of the past. My eyes were set on the life I wanted to build for myself, not on the lives I had left behind.
Since then I have missed countless events:
Birthdays and Christmases.
Taco Fridays and pizza Mondays.
My maternal grandmother’s last months and weeks and days.
I missed her funeral …
And I missed visiting my mom in the hospital when she was there for an extended stay shortly after our wedding.
She has missed out too:
On my relationship with Nathan.
On the births of her grandchildren.
On birthdays and Christmases, concerts and celebrations.
She’s seen her grandchildren grow up on Facebook instead of in person, and only knows them through Skype.
* * *
Today is my mom’s birthday.
I’m missing it – but more than the party and cake and balloons and candles –
I’m missing her.