The house is quieter than usual. Its energy is different. Even though Bryce has been gone only a couple of days, it feels longer. While he has gone away on several occasions, this is the first time without contact. His lonely phone sits on his desk awaiting for his homecoming. This is all in an effort to connect to each other and that is what a retreat should entail. It is an adjustment. One that will prepare me for the next chapter.
Last night, I attended a meeting on his retreat and what the days looked like for him along with how our sons will be reacting to the activities planned. I wasn’t going to go. I didn’t think it was necessary. I had planned to go to dinner with some girlfriends, but I was nudged to text one of my friends whose son had already been on his retreat. She urged me to attend, so trusting that was the next right thing to do, I went.
I walked in with a good friend of mine. Our boys have known each other since grade school, and we were sharing how different the vibe in houses felt. How there are moments of sadness in the mix. Another mom we knew walked in and we invited her in the conversation. Her take was different. She looked at us like we were crazy and proceeded to ice out our emotions. The cold demeanor didn’t waiver. I finally responded in my most loving way (seriously, I wasn’t even sarcastic), “everyone processes emotions differently”. Which is true. I don’t have to understand why she is so reserved or emotionless. At that moment, I had compassion for her inability to acknowledge other people’s feelings. I embraced her lack of sensitivity toward how my friend and I were navigating our son’s absences.
This is what amazes me about our world. Our scarcity of support for one another. The shortage of empowerment. I might not have the same feelings as you, but I can offer my ear to listen and arms to hug. It really isn’t that difficult, but I can grasp that it may be for others. The ability of being vulnerable is scary. Presenting your authentic self can bring on a tremendous amount of anxiety. Last night, my friend and I were ridiculed because of our emotions. Grateful today that my ability to share and be real are not hindered by another person. That I am comfortable being okay with exactly where I am – most days. Yesterday, I was missing my baby and that doesn’t make me weak. What it makes me is human.