We brought Jake to the airport last night with bags that weighed more than our house. I’ll be mailing the overflow in something like a shipping container, by the looks of what he left in his room. We watched him fly off to his sophomore year at USC. I was the one walking through Logan sobbing, the one sniffling all the way home on Storrow Drive, the one who cried herself to sleep last night. God, California is far away.
I thought this year’s goodbye would be a snap, easy peasy, a no cry zone. But it was just the opposite. I felt sort of prepared last summer, having pre-grieved for a good solid year. This summer smacked me in the face like Cher hit Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck. And I tried to “snap out of it,” but I couldn’t help myself from being overwhelmed with sadness about how much I will miss my boy, over the fact that I can’t hop in the car and go have lunch with him, or that him coming home for a weekend is sort of impossible, not to mention costly.
It was sort of a wonky summer for him. A foot in L.A. and a foot in the protective cove of his spectacularly messy room made for some confusion over where home really is. I remember the first summer I came home after college. I chose never to do it again, so I understood his mixed feelings. You assess your old friends, and your new friends, where you’ve been and where you’re going. I know he loves us madly. And I know he loves Boston, but he’s doing the hard work of growing up and separating and becoming an independent person.
Interestingly, after longing for his arrival home, it took a transitional period to get used to him back in the house. After a few days, I was counting the days until he left. Two weeks later, I had acclimated, and made a note for next time: remember there’s an adjustment period. It’s real life, not a fairy tale.
I am going to have to be nice to myself today. Jake and I have a really special relationship in which a nod of the head is all we need to know where the other is coming from. Plus he is really sweet. Plus I just plain like him. But this is the work these days: adjusting to the coming and going. This is the work. I can tell you, it’s not a minimum wage job.