He's a high school senior now, ready to graduate, and since we homeschool, his graduation is on me to pull off and…I'm…paralyzed. I can't get myself to call the facility; I can't plan food; I can't order invitations even though I've been asked for them for months; and I can't even set a date!
I don't want to keep him from growing up. He's gorgeous and brilliant as his 17-year-old self.
I don't want to keep him from leaving. Well, not far, anyway. He has been working 44 hours a week since last November; I'm okay with him being away all day with only glimpses of him.
He deserves a big bash in his honor. I want to give him a big bash to honor him.
I just have this ridiculous thing called a heart that was shattered once, and glued back together by this child.
Even his Daddy, I love him so, was not able to glue my broken heart completely. It took a baby to do so.
I don't talk about it on the blog very often (ever?) because it brings my mom such pain, but I don't think I can help others – and now myself – unless I am honest about the heartache I felt as a child left at a boarding school for most of each school year.
That heartache would not have been so great if I had not had such wonderful parents. They were so much fun when we lived in Missouri my first nine years. I was given my own square to garden; Mom would surprise us from school pickup with a drive to a theme park; she always had powdered red jello ready to be licked when I was ill; her hands were so soft, they were all I wanted when I didn't feel well; Daddy tucked me in every night, blankets up to my neck, after telling me a fabricated story from his childhood (he rode dragons 'n stuff). He always made breakfast.
When I was 10, they felt they were to move to Papua New Guinea. The mission insisted that children were better off gathered at a boarding school in dorms so the parents could do the tribal work uninterrupted. We received social skills and education in exchange for native souls saved.
There are some positive, and there are a lot of negative things, I could say about that time in the dorms. One thing is for certain: it has entirely shaped who I am.
One of the ways it shaped me is that I have a hard time letting anyone close to me, for fear they will leave. Every one, except my husband, who has ever been close to me has left me. Even 22 years into marriage, he still cannot convince this broken girl that he won't someday leave, too.
We all have our fears. This one is mine.
And so, I put up walls. If nobody has my heart, it cannot be broken. I know this can be argued; I know it is not logical; but I also cannot help it.
But this baby….he just stole it. I tried to resist, but he absolutely, undoubtedly stole my heart. I didn't have a choice.
And now, he's turning 18 next month, and he's graduating high school, and…
"Mom, I'm not leaving the island," he says to me.
He knows that as soon as every boarding school kid reached high school graduation, they flew off the island to their own countries and states and to their future life. Nobody stayed, though some eventually returned to be missionaries with their new families.
"I won't leave the island. I'll stay around a year before I go to college. And I won't go far."
"But I don't want you to live like that. You need to live your life. It's just that…"
I'm afraid I'll break is what I don't say.