“Oh I didn’t know you had a son," she said.
“I don’t think I’ve seen him in your Facebook pictures," she said.
My heart hurt a bit for my now sixteen-year-old boy-man.
As if someone had left him out. Forgotten him. Put him to the side.
I wanted to defend him - tell her all about him - explain myself for not having more pics of him up on Facebook.
You see he MADE me a mom. I wouldn’t be who I am without his puzzle piece.
His piece is so important.
But no, you won’t see his puzzle piece on Facebook much these days.
You will see our puzzle, less one piece. Almost always.
We feel it. We miss his vital piece.
You see, his piece is figuring out what colors it wants to be. What edges it will have. What size it will grow to. And our puzzle - we are bending to fit his piece. Adjusting to the size he needs. Sanding our edges to fit his.
For all of this to happen, he needs alone time. Time with his peers. Time to play video games. Time to be away from our big puzzle. It’s vital for him to evolve.
He needs for our puzzle to stay put. So he can click back in when he needs it.
He needs our puzzle to occasionally say, “You got this. We will be back here.”
He needs our puzzle to be secure enough that we are still a unit even when you can’t see his piece.
In the beginning, we were always a full puzzle. Moving together. Eating together. Being together. We couldn’t stop snapping pictures of his blond headed sweet face. He loved posing and laughing and just being with us. He was present and a constant in our pictures and our everyday story.
Today he has disappeared from the pictures, but he is still here.
He is in our home. In our air. In our space.
I am mindful of this moment before he launches.
I hold onto his jokes, his messy hair and his room full of half drank glasses of tea.
I try not to comment about the need to open a window to air out his room. Or are those shorts even clean? I do my best to be aware of where I need to bend and break so that he can grow and change in the exact direction he is destined to.
I am aware.
Oh I am aware.
I am aware that time is slipping through my hands and I have no control over that.
I am aware that he would rather we bring home dinner than to go with us.
I am aware that what was once a constant is now fluid.
I am aware that things as we knew them are evolving.
So I will take in the smell of that musty room.
I will take solace in the fact that he is still behind the door even though it’s closed.
I will peacefully listen to him hoot and holler over Fortnite.
When he begins to talk I will stop what I am doing and be still to listen.
I won’t allow my mind to wander when he goes into painstaking detail.
I will remember he may have disappeared from the pictures but he is still here.
Each puzzle piece may disappear from your line of sight for a while but it will never disappear from the puzzle.
Our puzzle is in tact, and it is beautiful in it’s evolution.