When I have a lot of feelings running through my brain and coursing through my veins, I take out the laptop and start typing. Some people get their feelings out by talking with friends, crying, eating, drinking and such, but I take to my blog when I need a release and get my feelings out through words.
I've been through every emotion possible in the last week, but most of all, I've felt reminiscent. I'm not one of those people who ruminates on Facebook with, "Where does the time go?" because I've seen the time go by, from June 18, 1999, to November 17, 2016. I birthed a baby boy and now I have a man child seven months away from turning 18 and graduating from high school, and most likely going to college. We don't know where the Army will be sending us after we are done with our time here in Washington, and I'm scared I could possibly be far away from Addison. I know, Erin, cut the cord, but hear me out.
Adam started deploying overseas when Addison was two years old. It was easy at that time, because he had no clue where Adam was. As the years passed and he got older, he realized dad was gone and would ask me, "When's dad coming home?" Luckily, "Soon" seemed to work.
Now he's 17 and when I look back at all the total years (around five of just deployment time), I find myself so incredibly thankful to have Addison with me these past 17 years, especially during deployments. He gave me a reason to get out of bed every day. He's kept me busy being a soccer, football, and baseball mom. He's kept me on my toes every single day, whether it was cutting his finger with scissors and needing stitches, or finding a flare gun in the garage and wondering what it was, went to the front yard with his friends, pulled the lever back, and it shot off down the road a good couple hundred yards toward the school. We all hightailed as fast as we ever ran back into the house.
We've had our shares of ups and downs, like any mother and child. We've fought and we've laughed. We cried and we played in the rain together. We took trips to Florida and Massachusetts and Tennessee to see family to try and pass those long months Adam was away. We celebrated Christmases with friends, eating tacos and making crunk cups. I've put him to bed when we lost two Rangers, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, only to have him ask me not to take a bath because he was afraid I was going to drown, because at the age of 10 he understood what was going on. I tried to shield him from as much reality as possible, but he's a smart kid who picks up on my own feelings all the time.
We have a connection, an unbreakable bond from going through so much together while Adam was deployed. My best friend and I left the house with our first dog, and when we came back without her, I had to try my best to explain to a young Addison that she wasn't coming home again, because she went to heaven. He saw me cry when my uncles died, when my grandparents died. I tried not to cry in front of him, and that was wrong of me. I wish I could go back and show him it's okay to show your feelings and cry when you miss your dad, when you need to get your emotions out.
This weekend Addison will travel to my home state of Massachusetts for a college visit and to meet with the baseball coach. He'll spend time with my brother-in-law (who is also one of my best friends, and has helped me more than I can ever thank him for during deployments and through life in general), my mother-in-law, (who I've given reason to dislike me, but forgives and still calls me "Little Girl," which I absolutely love, and loves me like a daughter, and I love her like a mother), and my brother and his fiance, who I miss immensely, and finally my dad and stepmom (I would sell all of Adam's fishing rods to be able to sit with my dad and some IPA's and watch golf or the Patriots with, and sit and talk with my stepmom, who I took for granted growing up, but I've grown up and love her because she's always shown me nothing but love).
I don't know what it will be like when Addison leaves the house. I don't know how I'm going to handle not getting up with him every day for school like I have since Pre-K. I don't know what it's going to be like to buy a bag of chips and it will still be there the next day, because he won't be here to eat the entire bag and I have no clue when I'm searching for it. I don't like the unknown. Adam and I don't know, and won't know for a couple more months, where the Army will send us next. I could be 30 minutes from Addison or thousands of miles, depending on where he ends up and we end up. I'm thankful for technology, although I have a feeling Addison might not answer the fifth time I FaceTime in one day.
I've got to learn how to let go, not totally, but enough so that when he does leave, I can survive it. Addison has been my rock and he's been my thorn, he's been my son and he's been my friend. We've always been together. Adam commented awhile back, "You and Addison are the same person." I said no way, he's so much like you too! It could be the time we've spent together, or it could be the genes, or a combination of both. I can see it though, we both have no sense of fear or shame. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Let's go with good. I see a spider, I smack it with my hand. Addison has done many things growing up that he tells me about now (rope swings, riding small Barbie Jeeps down steep hills) and it doesn't surprise me.
Addison, this is for you. When I was pregnant with you, I couldn't sleep one night, so I went into your nursery, sat down in the recliner, and rubbed my belly while talking to you and crying. I promised you I would be the best mother I could be. I'd make mistakes, but I would learn from them. I told you I would protect you with every fiber of my being, I would die for you. I remember that night like it was yesterday. Now you're a senior in high school, applying to colleges. It hurts my heart to know you'll fly from the nest soon, but I hope you soar, and stay true to who you are and what you believe in. Keep your mind open, your heart open, and always keep that sense of humor, you are so funny it makes me proud when you make me and others laugh. The world could use more humor, and you are the perfect person to provide it. Be true to yourself. You are a strong kid, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I have the utmost faith that you will go out into the world and make it a better place. You're a military child - you are resilient. I will always feel bad that you grew up away from our family, and didn't get to spend weekends with your grandparents or sleepovers with your cousins. But, you have grown up with a sense of pride, pride in your father for serving his country, pride in our country itself, and pride in knowing exactly who you are and have been your whole life. Your incredible sense of self and self-esteem has always astounded me. You make me a better person, and everyone around you.
You've made it easy for me to be a mother, so thank you. I love you more than I can ever put into words, into a hug, into a kiss on the cheek when I grab you and am able to plant a big one on you (when you're sitting, of course, since you're eight inches taller than me).
I will always be here for you. You may leave, but I'm always here. You will always be baby. Love you forever.