Packing up, sad son, fingers crossed

Today was a whirlwind of packing, playdates, quality family time and all the requisite madness therein. I sent pies and cranberry sauce to my in-laws' house (y'all, you CAN freeze fruit and pecan pies. I do this every year. Many people have asked and have seemed thrilled about the positive answer. So yes, go forth and bake and freeze!) and heard from a few readers and friends making Nanny's cranberry sauce and/or her pie crusts. That means so much to me, as if bits of Nanny's memory and legacy are spreading into the world like a just-blown dandelion. Jack has been so sad about my departure and tonight simply couldn't hold back his tears.

"Mom, it just won't be the same. We sit by each other at Thanksgiving every year, every year! I wish you wouldn't go. I am so sad." His eyes filled, his lips quivered, his face flushed and he ran to me, my arms outstretched and waiting. He is such a sweet and darling soul. We snuggled for an hour, looking at old photo albums including the one from his first Thanksgiving.

He was four-and-a-half months old then and had just started trying rice cereal. I'll never forget me holding him at the family table, everyone smiling on this first grandbaby. I fed him a spoonful of cereal, and immediately he shoved his foot in his mouth, cereal gushing in between and around his little toes. He couldn't have cared and just kept eating. We all laughed with such joy and delight.

He still shines. He radiates, really. And I will miss him dearly, even though I am glad to be going to meet my nephew and have learned from experience that breaks are never a bad thing. I tucked him in but the tears returned and so we moved to my bed, where T was researching something or another. J told us about a child at school who isn't always kind to a classmate and also doesn't listen well to others; we tried to give him advice, to praise him for his sense of justice, to hug him tight. Then back to his bed where I rubbed his back and promised to check on him later and in the morning before I go.

We started a journal over the weekend, J and I. We're going to write back and forth to each other about anything and everything. He promised to write while I'm away.

"Mom, I can always tell you everything. Anything! Please don't go."

My heart hurt, and part of me felt grateful that I still have much to do. Distraction never really stops being an effective coping method.

Keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow, y'all. That I get my passport and to the airport in time. And that my boys don't feel too sad this week, but instead have a ball with cousins and aunts, grandparents and uncles, Tom and friends.