Last Columbus Day Weekend, we had such a beautiful time together as a family. All six of us laughed, played, ate, and talked about anything and everything. It was your first overnight back home since you had left for school in August, and I couldn’t have been happier to have all four of my children under one roof. Sunday night, you fell asleep on the couch. I woke you up so you could sleep in a real bed… I knew those college dorm beds had to be so uncomfortable. I guided you down the stairs and helped you into bed. I tucked you in, and you smiled from ear to ear with your eyes still closed. I kissed you about six times all over you face and you let out a giggle. Within about five seconds, you were fast asleep again.
The next day – Columbus Day, we made the most out of every minute we had together. I made you a breakfast consisting of all your favorites. Throughout the day, you kept coming up to me just to hug me and tell me just how much you loved me. You asked me how to get the funny smell out of your sponges, and you even thanked me for all I’d done for you over the years. You played street football with your siblings, and had deep chats with your dad about sports, music and life. I made you a feast, very thanksgiving-like, but with a whole chicken instead of a turkey. You loved every second of your time here and mentioned that you wished you could stay.
When it was time for me to bring you ‘home,’ you asked your Dad if he would come for the ride. It seemed out of the ordinary since I did most of the transporting from here to Bryant. But, I could tell it meant a lot to you, and so could Dad. Of course, he happily agreed to come along. When you said goodbye to your siblings, I felt sad. It still seemed so ‘off’ at home without you. Our family was always together, and I don’t think any of us had quite adjusted yet to your absence.
The ride to campus was wonderful. We talked about your classes, C.S. Lewis, Christiany, your future plans, your friends and, of course, volleyball. You were doing SO well, and I just had such a peace about where you were headed. When we arrived to Bryant, we sat outside in the parking lot for a bit and continued to chat. You had a slight cold that weekend, and Dad asked if he could pray for you. You said, ‘Absolutely. I’d like that.’ Dad prayed for your cold, for wisdom, for peace in your mind, and for your relationship with The Lord. Towards the end of the prayer, Dad thanked God for you and asked him to protect and guide you. As my hand laid gently on your knee, I will never forget the end of that prayer. ‘God, we give this child to you. Please have your way with him. We release him into your care.’ As Dad, spoke those final words, I began to cry. Not because I didn’t want that, but because I knew Dad was right, and that it was time for us to let you grow up. (So hard for a mommy.) I wanted to KEEP you from so much. I wanted you home with me, all day, every day. But, the hard truth I’ve come to know is that you were never mine. I was just the one who God chose to love and care for you for eighteen years. Oh, how I wish it was more.
How could I know that one the evening of Columbus Day, 2013, we would be saying goodbye for the last time? I couldn’t. But God knew… And, I thank Him for making that weekend so special for us. I miss you so much. I can barely get through writing this to you, as the tears blur my eyes and soak my face. This is not the life I want, but it is the life I’ve been given. And, if avoiding the pain means that I would never have had you, then I’d still opt for the pain. Christiano, people truly have no idea how special you are, but God does. Your existence CHANGED me, and I will never be the same because of your love. I know our last goodbye was the final one because when I see you again – it will be forever. And, my mommy heart who wanted you with her all day, every day will one day be fully satisfied.