Ellis is in Florida this week with his dad. I won't see him until one week from today. He's too little at this point to be able to contact me on his own, so this period is like a black out. When he goes, I realize how much the cells in my body have been rearranged by being a mother because I ache when he's gone.
The truth is, there is no escaping this pain. Ultimately, Ellis's job is to grow away from me, and there will come a point when I am no longer the woman he loves the most, his best friend, the sun around which he orbits. Having a child is a lesson in impermanence. The baby Ellis does not exist anymore and the five-year-old will soon enough disappear to replaced by the next iteration of this unique person. The nature of my relationship with him is to move to smaller and smaller levels of intimacy starting from the point of once having inhabited the same body.
In some ways, I have an advantage through my arrangement of shared custody. I train a little bit in heartbreak every week on the days he doesn't live with me and the couple times a year that he is gone for a more extended period of time. I learn that although it hurts, I can carry grief in me and not be broken by it. I learn that my essential self, the part of me beyond the willing servant to this child's life, is still intact and has its own meaning and purpose. I learn that the energy that I have poured into him has not weakened me, but actually given me greater creative capacity that can be directed toward endeavors of my choosing. Each of these moments without him holds both loss and potential. Like life can hold all things - like I can hold all things.