8.21.2009

he's leaving home

I’m writing his name in Sharpie on the towels he’s taking with him to college. When I first met Demetri I could have dried him with a washcloth, and today he’s packing the trunk of his 1994 Mercedes S-Class, grit still under his fingernails from getting it into tip-top shape, and preparing to drive it across the country. This country; the one that looks more formidable to me now, on the brink of having my oldest off on its roads, in its towns and cities, its red states and its blue states.

I helped him with his laundry, something I hadn’t done in years, and made sure he had a flashlight and some extra batteries and that his AAA membership was up to date. That’s all I can really do now; the rest he did himself, which is pretty much how it’s been the past few years. He’s big now.

I’m not sure yet how many ways I’ll miss Demetri. The house will be quieter; too quiet, probably. The piano will have no one who can really play it. The kitchen will be cleaner. I’ll miss his sense of humor. I’ll have to figure out how to use my camera. I will miss our night-owl conversations about life, cars, and balls of string. I’ll miss the King Tiny face.

When the kids were growing up there were lots of things that ended without us really knowing that they had. Yes, we celebrated when they were done with diapers and when they lost a first tooth, but we didn’t notice when they stopped making burglar alarms out of household items, when they stopped playing with Lego, and when they didn’t need us to get them juice any more. Had I known I would have savored the last time sitting in my lap. When they stopped saying things like, “If there were rioters, and they asked idiots, imps and scoundrels to help them riot, wouldn’t that be bad and very destructive?”

I’ve savored the last few months with Demetri, and now it’s coming down to the wire. The trunk is packed. Towels are there. Flashlight too. Now I’m just waiting for him to say, “Mommy, if there was a seismograph for how much I love you, for the rest of the time the earth was here, someone would have to keep changing the rolls.” Then I’ll lift him gently off my lap, pour him some juice and he’ll be off.

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I love the part where if we knew when the last whatever was we would cherish it. How true. And "When I first met Demetri" I love that you acknowledge him as a total human being upon his arrival. Beautiful piece.

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  3. Okay you got me. That is about the most beautiful essay on the subject I can ever remember. Thank you, Monique. I'm sending links to you all over.

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  4. Thank you so much Lizzy. I don't know what to say but that.

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  5. I never thought that rewinding the college sendoff would have me crying over someone else's kid.

    I'd say that Demetri inspired all of that, but I have a feeling some if it came directly from you.

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  6. tears over hear in Dunstable, too. Love every word, Monique and now you're making me miss Demetri. Crap.

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  7. Thanks all. I did submit it; you will hear first if it's been accepted.

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  8. oh, my goodness, what a lovely piece. Thank you for writing it, and posting it, and ...well, taking the crucial moments to notice.

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  9. This is a sweet and powerful rumination on Demetri's leaving for college... and on the growing up of all of our children. It's so true about "the last time" for all the little things. Sometimes I look at the photo albums and wonder where those little babies went... but my bigs are busy filling my life w/grandchildren, so that's a help. p.s. I loved the Stabat Mater photo Demetri posted... SO funny! and bittersweet....

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  10. Someday I will have the great, good fortune of knowing Demetri. Until then I will miss him dearly.

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