He stood on the bare platform all alone as my train moved away on the first leg of my journey back home. He looked lost and I couldn’t see through the tears if he was waving or not. And his figure grew smaller and less distinct as the trained moved further away until it turned a corner and he disappeared. I was initially too embarrassed to bawl but the tears were streaming effortlessly; I couldn’t hold them back or shake off the feeling of emptiness though I tried so hard.
Then my phone rang as I had expected and it was Adega phoning to check how it all went and how I was. I just couldn’t get the words out because I was now bawling uncontrollably and she tried but didn’t succeed in consoling me.
It was our oldest son’s first day at university 250 miles from home and I had gone with him on the train and was returning home empty and feeling as though I lost a child. In all of his 18 years, I’d never taken him anywhere that I didn’t go back to pick him and bring him back home. I knew this day would come; the day he would leave home and not come back to stay but I was obviously not prepared enough. I was returning alone with floods of thoughts rushing through my mind. “Had I done enough; invested enough, counselled him enough, prayed with him enough, taught him about the Lord enough, equipped him enough to face the world out there on his own?” “ Does he have enough money; will he be able to care for himself? Have I been a good parent?
I completely forgot I too was 18 years old when I went to University and no parent went with me. But I had learned some independence from boarding when I was in secondary school but it was his first time leaving home at 18!
Adega hates goodbyes and wouldn’t see any child off even to the train station! So I was really all alone with my emotions. I wasn’t even aware if any passengers on the train noticed. Not that it would have mattered or that I cared….
My heart was aching because the only image was of my little boy on the platform all alone and I wasn’t there to assure him daddy was there and that he would be ok…
I also had another child to take; his sister also starting university a few days later and i would have to take her there by myself and also return home alone!
I always thought I was very rational and logical and could often work things out and therefore wouldn’t need to cry or panic…
We had taken an early train for the long journey and arrived late morning with enough time to get back home in daylight as it was late summer. We first went shopping in town for his needs and then went to his hall of residence and put his things away in his room and had a chat with his flatmates. We had bought the things he needed to be comfortable. I wanted to get away while he was getting to know them but when my taxi came, he insisted on seeing me off to the station. I couldn’t shake him off and I couldn’t find an excuse to say no. I would have been happier if he had stayed back with his mates. I was caught in between; to leave him in the company of the new friends or spending every last minute with him before I went back home.
Unfortunately he chose the latter that I had dreaded! And I did pay the price and which made return much harder and painful!
On that train journey back, I knew I had to let him go because he was never coming back to stay; he would only visit during holidays until he graduated and then move to his own place and have his own family someday. He was never coming back home to stay! The ‘empty nest syndrome’ had kicked in and how painful!
Three years soon went by and he did mature and has made a success of his opportunity and today has his own family. I know without doubt his own time will come!
Lord, is that how your heart aches or hurts when we separate or walk away from you?
Mine o! This is hard!!!
Lord, may I never stray from your love!!!
Thank you for loving me
Sam Ajulo @Molemude
That was 22 years ago but still feels like yesterday.
What was your experience when you had to let your prince or princess go, maybe even farther away? Mine was a gaping wound! How was yours? I trust the healing is now complete.