I drive and I listen to my Spotify list, and I hear the first sounds of “Airport”, a song by The Motors I heard back in my teens, and I think how appropriate it is for these days of my life.


Although it’s not a ballad, “Airport” is a sad song, about parting, about putting distance between two people, about saying goodbye.


Yesterday I just left my elder son Afonso at Lisbon’s airport – he was flying to Cape Verde on a well-deserved holiday with his girlfriend. I had to drop him – not easy to park the car, nor did he want his mother trailing after him at the baggage drop off – and as I drove back I still saw his tall figure, travel bag on one shoulder and surf board on the other side, disappearing among the crowd, and I silently prayed for a safe trip there and back home, a prayer that I suppose is on every mother’s lips. I also fervently wished him a wonderful holiday, it’s been a tiresome year, he has launched his agricultural project and finished his master’s degree thesis, and still played rugby for the first six months of this year, only to win the Portuguese championship cup. What a feat!


Anyway, Afonso will be back after ten days, but another trip to the airport is awaiting me in the next few days – and that one will be much harder. My younger son Pedro is leaving next week for Amsterdam, where he will be working for a whole year, at least. And I cannot bring myself to believe I won’t be seeing him every day, hear his happy voice as he gets home from work, get one of his bear hugs, try to get him out of bed in the morning, have long talks after dinner and fight him over the TV command. After Afonso moved to our beach apartment I missed him so much, and our life together as mother and sons, but he is 40 kilometres away and I can go to him whenever I want to. But now, my baby son, Pedro, is leaving home, going to live in another city, another country. Worse – for the first time in his life we won’t be together for his birthday on December 19, nor for Christmas, I’m afraid… working at a hotel’s front desk, and beginning now, for sure he will be on Christmas duty. As Afonso said: “Mom, I cannot imagine us spending Christmas without Pedro…” But I’m afraid this year we will, and there’s nothing we can do about it.


I’m trying to make the most of Pedro’s last days here, but he’s saying his goodbyes so he’s social life is in a whirl – and of course he wants to spend time with his girlfriend. I walk around the house, aimlessly, and cannot begin to think how lonely it will feel, day after day, night after night, without him.


I try to console myself thinking that it’s only natural for our little birds to fly away, but this empty nest syndrome is hitting me hard. A few years ago I wrote a post about how empty the nest felt when they left on their summer trips, but I always knew they would be back after a few weeks – and that is not the case anymore. Even Afonso tells me he and his girlfriend are planning on moving to their own place in some months – and that’s only natural, at his age I had married and moved out too, but now I’m the mother and the empty nest is my own.


These thoughts must have crossed my mind so fast, because “Airport” is still playing on the car stereo. As the song’s words go, in a few days it will be taking my baby to another place, flying away, flying away.

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