As we walked in to the small waiting room, all but one chair was taken. I checked in at the front desk while Ry took a seat. The awkward silence of a full waiting room bumped into us as I took the chair recently vacated by the next patient. The woman in the dress with the bright yellow sunflowers broke the mounting silence, "I just havta ask. Do you play basketball?". The question was directed at my son. "I know, everyone must ask you and I'm sorry, I just have to know". The once shy young man smiled as he looked at her and answered, "No, but I used to. I did in high school. I was a bit more clumsy then.". Yellow sunflower Lady gestured to the people on either side of her and exclaimed, "Well so were we!". She went on to recount her high school sporting days, or rather her efforts to avoid them, the dark haired girl to her right chimed in with how much she loved sports, especially soccer, my son smiled and nodded listening to their stories. He was called to the front desk to answer some questions and as he was responding yellow sunflower lady blurted out, "Just how tall are you?". My son turned and smiled at her and answered, "Six foot, six inches". "Six foot, six inches?! Wow!". Yellow sunflower lady smiled at him. He settled into his previous seat just as a pair of women walked in. We made eye contact and he offered his chair to the newest visitors to our club. Yellow sunflower lady crows, "What a nice young man!". He ambled over to me and asked for a cup of water from the water cooler beside me, as he leaned against the wall on my other side. Yellow sunflower lady queried as I got the water, "Is that your son?". I replied in the affirmative smiling at her and looking up at my son, seeing all at once the exuberant little boy, the shy adolescent, and now the handsome and kind young man everyone else is seeing. "Well, you did a good job. I can tell. He's a good man." yellow sunflower lady beams at me. She got called away and the waiting room settled back into it's customary hush. Yellow sunflower lady finished up and walked through the waiting room, cutting the silence as she touched me on the shoulder, "You did a good job. I can tell." she repeated with a smile. "Well thank you, and have a great day," I stammered as I smiled at her and she departed.
My son left this morning at 7:00. He said goodbye to his father before he went off to golf, he woke his sleeping sister to say bye for now, gave the dogs a farewell rub. After a hug from my once little boy, I could feel the tears beginning. He hurried over to his car, standing by the open door, "Why aren't you smiling, Mom? I'm just going on a little vacation, two weeks.". I tried to smile, at his excitement, "I'll miss you! I love you! Have fun! Drive Careful! Be safe!". "I love you too, Mom, and I will. I will." he jumped into his car waving as he backed out of the driveway and pulled away, towards the next adventure.
So why am I crying? I recount his summer plans and realize his girlfriend and her family will be with him about as long as we have had him home this summer. Unlike in other years when he left, his anchor was still here with us, this time it is different. He is in love with a wonderful young woman, they are beginning to make life plans, he is no longer anchored here. He has pulled up that anchor and is setting his own course for bright beautiful adventures as yet unknown. The awareness dawns on me that all the other comings and goings were easier because I knew he was returning to us. He is now moving towards his future and as beautiful as that is, and as cool as that is, my heart weeps, and so do my eyes for a bit.
I remember yellow sunflower lady from the waiting room yesterday and her words echo in my heart. She's right, we sure did. We did a good job. Love you Ry. Have fun. Be safe.
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