I Cried Today at Staples


They asked me what kind of file folders

I would like. I eyed that wall,

boxes of files stacked like bricks

propping up crumbling dreams,

and I couldn’t stop them,

hot tears welling up unbidden,

indecision and nostalgia and sorrow

in liquid form. And I knew

it wasn’t the file folders –

not really. It was more

that after the check-out counter,

after smiling and making small-talk

with a smiling employee about

the weather and the Riders game,

after fighting traffic

and stopping for an iced frappé

on the way, I would carry the bags

and drop them off

with my son

at their new home,

leave them deposited there,

file folders marked ‘Memories’,

‘Fears’, ‘Regrets’; even the expanding

style can’t hold ‘Dreams I’ve Dreamed

for my Son Since He Was Born’,

or ‘Have I Given Him Enough

to Make Him a Man?’ So I stood

in aisle 4 and let the tears drip

until the labels swam, inked

puddles to be filed later.

29 comments on “I Cried Today at Staples

  1. russtowne says:

    I’d decided that I had read my last post for the night but caught a glimpse of the title of this one and couldn’t help myself. Great title and post, Melody. My condolences at your loss and some of the feelings that often come from this type of change. As the parent of three children–all of whom have left the nest–I know it can be tough and bittersweet. You and your son are in my thoughts.


    • melodylowes says:

      Aw, thanks Russ. I am so proud of the young man I helped to raise – I know he is ready to begin his new life – I will adjust, too. I will try to pick a less conspicuous place to relieve my emotions next time… 😉

  2. awwwe… so sweet! ❤

  3. Loved the title, the poem, the emotion touched me, and brought similar memories and thoughts to the surface. Never easy being a Mom, never easy letting go. So glad you shared this one!

    • melodylowes says:

      Thanks. I guess there are a lot of us mamas out there, missing their brood. I thought the title was pretty different from my usual – glad it worked! 🙂 And I’m happy that so many are relating to this silly little slice of human experience. I wrote it to let off some of that emotion – nice that it is connecting with a some of you out there, too…

  4. Gallivanta says:

    😦 It happens like that; tears appearing in the most mundane of places eg instead of being glad there is less laundry, you cry because the dirty socks aren’t there. And where’s that unwashed plate lying in your way on the kitchen bench; you actually miss the nuisance of it being there. My son was home briefly today; he left a plastic handle knife on the stove top which I didn’t notice until I saw melted plastic oozing from behind my saucepan. It was like old times 🙂 I love that you file puddles!

    • melodylowes says:

      It’s strange, the things you notice and miss. I had to laugh because his hot water hadn’t been turned on and the stack of dishes we brought for him all got dirty in transit – a story in itself – so I left them unwashed! Almost like delicious ironical revenge, don’t you think??? 😀

  5. Oh WOW, I could feel this one with you, Mel–doesn’t take much imagination at all.

    • melodylowes says:

      This might be one of the most transparent ones I’ve written – just felt so much better after puking it all out and sniffling for a bit. I’m so proud of my son – and so looking forward to the adventures ahead. But mama can’t help but cry in Staples as she gets used to the idea…

      • I’m thrilled you wrote it–it’s so real, and I’ve cried in stores/public places (probably going through the divorce–long long ago). And I’ve seen women crying in public–I inevitably want to get involved, ask them if I can help–or at least tell them I’ll pray for them. It’s just who we are.

  6. Pam says:

    Melody, I’ve been out of touch for a visit to my Dad and son’s homes. I’m catching up with your work and something has broken loose – such a flow of words and images and feelings that bite and melt and sigh…

    • melodylowes says:

      That comment thrills me to my toes, Pam. I feel as though ‘something has broken loose’, too – and am so grateful that it shows. Something feels more free and more like a grown-up – and am loving it! I may just frame your words and hang them on my wall… 🙂

  7. lylekrahn says:

    I remember so well. Thankfully it gets better.

  8. I understand this one completely, all you can do is trust that you have done the best you could. This is just an inevitable part of being a parent, but no less painful. 🙂

  9. Melody, you’re a woman of faith and this season is always a difficult one. Nonetheless I’m certain you’re grateful that you’ve helped your son deepen his roots in good soil. Now await your harvest!

  10. elizabeth says:

    It happened for me in front of the Pizza cabinet in the supermarket. Floods of tears. It happened for months after he left. I’m sending big hugs and love your way Melody. You did good!

  11. beautiful!!! been there! happy day to you!!

  12. My niece and nephew are both leaving for college next week its so hard to let go

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