This post is for you parents out there, or for people who once left home themselves....
My littlest bird is leaving the nest next week.
This seems impossible to me, despite the fact that he has been over a foot taller than me for almost a decade.
There are boxes everywhere; lists of things to be packed, decisions to be made.
He is packing his movies. If there is one gift we have given him (besides love, security and almost every Lord of the Rings action figure) it is his love of movies.
We started early and by four he was obsessed with movies and not just in the regular way - he was watching ALL of the special features over and over again, studying choices made by the filmmaker, the actor, the writer. His tastes have gone past my own, his knowledge, except for 1930s and 1940s films, far exceeds my own. Fitting that he leaves to study film at university. Fitting he tried to steal some of my Humphrey Bogart movies.
Really, we have had it good. Except for costing us an arm and leg, he has never caused us any trouble. This is largely, I suspect, because he robbed us of sleep for the first three years of his life and he was, to put it kindly, willful.
There has always been four of us (and often five with the lovely girlfriend). Three will seem odd. And with the third person planning their own imminent departure in the coming months, Two seems well, downright odd.
I worked all through his childhood. I thought that somehow that would make me immune, that somehow I could dodge the empty nest syndrome with my busy life, or my newest baby, the book that will be published next year.
I was wrong.
So next week we will jam the car full of 8 months of belongings. We will drive 9 hours and leave him with a bunch of strangers. He will be happy and fine.
I will be happy and fine.
But a chapter is closing.
He is who he is. Some of that I had a part in, most of that belongs to him and to his peers and to the universe.
I think I have shared this before, but it always makes me laugh at the tragedy of life:
Men love women
women love children
children love dogs
Once upon a time, I walked out of my parent's home with nary a look behind, hell-bent to see the world and live my life on my own terms. I look back now and think "couldn't you at least have said thank-you?" (I did, but not properly until their deathbeds I don't think).
There are no things left unsaid with this fellow who is leaving me. I do not begrudge him his freedom. And really, we are all ready for him to go.
But there is a boy who is forever a baby who is still as alive to me as this 20-year old who will move away next week. It happens in a blink of an eye. I thought I was prepared, I thought I had done enough and now I discover that I forgot to make sure he could play the piano, balance spreadsheets, cook a chicken (oh wait, he's vegetarian), build a house, identify animal tracks, whatever.
There was never enough time for it all, was there? There never could be.
But he is loved. And in the end, that is enough.
|we'll always have Paris....|