I’ve been doing a lot of knitting for Christmas. I have a post for that eventually, but you know how it is — when you’re knitting for a deadline, time spent blogging could be spent knitting to hit the deadline. Which of course I didn’t do anyhow. But I will recap my holiday handiness at some point — or you can just go to Ravelry and stalk see for yourself.

Right now I’m actively knitting three different things. Along with four additional WIPs that I’ve dug out of hibernation. I think I’m trying to keep my wits about me by being surrounded by yarn and stitches and lace and yarnovers and charts and cakes. If I wasn’t surrounded by all this work, attentive to patterns, I might be tempted to slow down, and if I slow down, reality might catch up to me and I will realize that there are eleven days before my youngest son is taken away and handed off to drill sergeants and the US Army.

I know this is what he wants. He is stubborn and determined and focused. Not unlike me if you listen to people who should know better than to say such a thing. But unlike me, he is looking forward to this unknown. I am terrified of it. My fear is the yin to the yang of his excitement. His anticipation is palpable as he anxiously awaits to shake this uneventful life from his shoes. My dread is lodged in my throat.

As the clock counts down, I try to appreciate my reprieve. One last Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. One last birthday with a boy before he leaves to change forever into the man he is destined to be. It will never be enough. I will never be ready for this. But I know it’s time to move on. To that end, I’ve become a paragon of support. A perfect picture of helpfulness as we go to Walmart to pick up boxes to store his worldly possessions. To help make decisions about bank accounts, and gaming systems, and books from a childhood that didn’t seem so very long ago. So many things have been thrown away, and the few remaining leftovers of the life he’s leaving behind have been boxed up for storage, to sit in a corner of the garage for years until he comes back to retrieve them. If he comes back to retrieve them.

austincroppedBut truth be told, I’m both a vastness of emptiness and a sea of wild emotions. I am the contradiction that proves the rule. I am somewhere very, very close to losing my shit and my silence, and I only pray I can remain outwardly upbeat for our last few days together. I resist my own fight or flight impulse. I want to hold my baby and rock him in my arms like we used to do so very many years ago because it made both of us feel better. I am not ready for this. I am not this strong. I don’t want to let him go early; I want the time due me as a parent, like my other kids. I yearn to be selfish, or at the very least to be comforted but, ultimately, I am alone with my fear. I am terrified they will train him and hand him a gun and send him off to some stretch of sand somewhere from which he will never return. And like everything else, I will have been left behind, forgotten, wrapped tightly shut, never to see the light of day ever again.

And so I hide in my patterns and my yarn and my needles and my focus. I hide my angst in my knitting blog, because everything else is far too public and nobody comes here but me. I know I need to write it down if I am to have any chance of surviving this, of understanding why this is just so damned important for him to do. I have no right to expect comfort, but I crave it nonetheless. I want reassurances but, like life itself, there are none.

Eleven days.