On heartache, and the stuff of life

Five years ago, I watched Angus receive a kindergarten award at his weekly school assembly. I smiled at him as he stood up the front, nervously clutching his certificate alongside his fellow award recipients. When the assembly ended and his class began to file out of the hall, he and I locked eyes and we waved at each other from across the hall. Once I was outside, we saw each other again as his class lined up to walk back to their room. I waved, then he waved. I blew him a kiss and waved again. He gave me another small wave. My throat was tight as I turned around to walk out of the school gate and, before I even managed to cross the road, I could hear myself sobbing.

I dialled Rick's number on my phone.

"Hello..." I stammered, as I stood there on the footpath beside a parked car, with tears streaking down my cheeks.

"What's wrong?" The alarm in his voice was palpable.

"Nothing, nothing's wrong. I just, I just... I just can't believe that Angus has started school and how grown up he is now."

I was struggling to speak between my sobs. My glasses had completely misted over and, as I picked up my pace to walk back to my car, I wondered at my five-month delayed reaction to my son starting school.

That's the thing about heartache: you never really know when it will take hold.

I expected to leave the school hall feeling happy and proud. Instead, I walked out completely overwhelmed by the fact that Angus was now a boy in his own right. He was no longer my baby. He was a school kid. He had school friends. He had teachers. He was even getting awards.

Oh my goodness, he was no longer my baby...

As I wept, I thought also of Cameron, and how we never got to see him grow up. What would he have been like? How would he have adjusted to school? Which teacher would he have had? Which house would he have been in? Who would've been his friends? Such things I will never know.

The thing is, I am okay with heartache.

I am okay with tears.

I am okay with crying for my firstborn.

I am okay with shedding tears for my son starting school.

I am okay with grief and continuing to grieve.

I am okay with feeling overwhelmed.

I am okay with mourning the transience of childhood and the childhood that never was.

Indifference is what I'm afraid of.

Heartache, I happily embrace.

I once wrote, “We weep because we love. We love because we are."

There is so much truth in this.

My heartache reminds me that I love fiercely.

My heartache reminds me that life is precious.

My heartache reminds me to cherish the here and now.

My heartache reminds me that I am made in God's image—to love and be loved.

And my heartache reminds me that I am blessed beyond measure.