... like we did EXACTLY ten years and two days ago, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport in the early morning hours to send Matt off to Washington, D.C. for the beginning of his seven long months of training.
... and like we did again today, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport, where I pulled over to the curb outside of Terminal 7, watched him pull his black backpack and duffel bag out of the car, and gave him a long hug and kiss good-bye.
Ten years ago I escorted Matt into the terminal and waited in the United Airlines Red Carpet Club until he boarded his flight. Back then our good-bye was far different. We were newlyweds with no kids, no dog, few responsibilities... but with the knowledge we'd see each other soon because my job was relocating me to New Jersey four short weeks after he left.
Today I had trouble containing the lump in my throat, and like four months ago started crying before he even let me go. I know I won't see him again until February. However, unlike our last big good-bye, neither of us realized just how difficult it would be this second time around.
Now we know.
Now we know how busy the kids schedules keep us. Now we know how crappy the rental house is. Now we know how lonely it is ... to sleep alone... wake up alone ... to spend the weekends alone.
Yes, we're both strong. We're troopers. We'll do just fine. But we're also secure enough to admit the reality. Sometimes it's hard. Some days are very, very hard.
One foot in front of the other. One day at a time...