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.
1 year ago