By WENDY HODGE
My son hugged me yesterday. There aren’t words to tell you how monumental that was. There has been a distance between us that I was powerless to bridge. Only time could do that. And, finally, there he was – standing over me at 6 feet 4 inches, legs more muscular than I had ever seen them, and that same sweet smile that I’ve missed so very much. I was the first person to ever see that smile, more than 26 years ago, and it’s one of the things I treasure most in this world.
I had forgotten how short I feel standing next to him and how sweet it is when he bends down and hugs me, making me feel like both the protector and the protected. I just stood and breathed him in, my grown-up baby.
Our reunion was not under the best of circumstances, but the fact that it happened at all is a miracle I’m grateful for. We talked of easy and familiar things, like the Walking Dead and Stephen King novels and our love of movies and our dogs. We laughed together, and it was music I had been craving to hear. And then we talked of things that aren’t easy, like regret and addiction and pain.
Today the sun is setting and I am in the garden that my best friend and I have toiled over and delighted in. You can find me there often, ear buds piping my favorite playlist into my ears and work gloves on my hands. It is my favorite time of day, when afternoon is on the edge of evening. The light is muted, and the world is softer somehow.
The next song begins, and it is Sam Smith singing quietly, just for me:
When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something, you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
No one can truly fix another person. It just can’t be done. But we can love them with a fierceness that defies the odds. We can hold them when they allow it and let them go when they demand it. We can hope when the deck is stacked so high against us that hope seems foolish. We can cry oceans when our heart won’t contain it any longer, and we can dry our tears and remember that crooked smile and a hug that heals.
We cannot fix others; we can only fix ourselves. I was able to help my son yesterday, and that saved me. Truly.