An empty bed was a symbol to me that my life was about to change forever. The empty crib waiting to be filled in the rooms that I so painstakingly decorated. The baby warming bed in the hospital room when I arrived for my three inductions. The empty crib placed next to our hotel room in China. All signs that someone was going to fill that spot that was going to also fill a hole in our lives that we didn’t even know was there. I can remember looking at each of these beds with excitement and longing for the little person that would soon fill that space.
Now there is another empty bed, but this time I do know the hole that that empty bed represents. This time I again know that our life is going to change forever, but I’m not so excited about it.
This time, there is a new bed in a place far away from my house where there is another new beginning. There is new bed filled with brand new XL bedding and foam mattress toppers and fluffy new pillows and an incredible view of New York City. But, there is also an older, well- loved bed that sits empty.
I get it that lots of parents don’t feel that way. Maybe MOST parents don’t feel that way. But we do. The adjustment in our home, the empty space in our house, the unoccupied bed is physically painful. Our lives have again changed, and a paradigm shift has occurred, and this time I was not eagerly anticipating it.
There is a hole here. A huge, gaping hole. Every hour of every day I physically feel his absence. This grown kid that is still MY kid. The kid that I have loved an adored every day of his life.
I just want to go ahead and say a few things. Of COURSE I am over the top excited for Zac. He is living his dream, and he is happy and excited, and that is WONDERFUL. And of COURSE I am proud of him. He worked so incredibly hard to be where he is today. All of these things are true. It is wonderful and exciting and amazing.
BUT, it is also sad.
I’ve been told it gets better. I hope so. But at the same time, I don’t want to look forward to a future time when his absence feels normal. I want to see his sneakers on the hallway floor. I want to restock his favorite protein shakes in the fridge. I want to remind him to take out the recycling on Thursday. I want to hug him as he walks out the door.
I miss him.
Now we are in a new chapter. A new chapter in which Zac’s home is still here, but it is also there. This is going to take some getting used to.