These two: mostly brothers from way way back. They were two of the quietest small boys in their kindergarten, just sitting near each other, mostly in silence. They had some big plans recently, things to finish up in advance of Jonas’s departure. Such as the above world map, painted on Jonas’s wall. They had traced it out using a projector earlier this year and then got down to brass tacks and painted it, over the course of 8 hours in one day.
The next day they walked from our house to his house, which are 31 miles apart. The result was a lot of blisters, but they were hardcore (being 16 and 18, respectively), and so they ran the last two miles in the dark (with flourescent shirts and headlamps). There is no limit to what these two can do, obviously, and they also made videos of both adventures which, annoyingly, are not on YouTube so I can’t share them.
Then, there was the preparation to leave, which included the usual packing up and organizing, but also just for fun, finishing up an online AP class right down to the wire, and for extra extra fun, wisdom teeth extraction! I have a whole poem about the waiting room experience, vis a vis listening to classic rock and all the most important news (everything Tom Brady), all. morning.long.
These ties and bowties are from a few of his fans. I sent out a little invitation to participate in a tie/bowtie send-off and they came through! I presented them to him while he was recovering from the teeth surgery— little colorful packages and notes of encouragement. Think of all that love, living in his closet this year.
This love note was written on our steps on the morning of his departure, a little art from a friend who came in the night for a last goodbye. I got teary then.
I made his bed in his dorm room. No top sheet, his forever preference. His room overlooks one of the quads, so green and shady.
Leaving him, I felt awestruck. And as the week has progressed, the adjustment is settling in with the just three of us. Mostly the part that is hard is that I can’t read him every moment, to know how he really is. But this is the new life! Moving forward and on his own, the same way it was strange when he went off to kindergarten and there were whole parts of his life that I was suddenly no longer part of. Letting go and trusting, just some of the biggest themes of parenting.
Here’s a poem about our golden boy who still lives at home…
Last Summer Sleep
Your arm was extended in repose,
golden wrist and hand limned in that ray of early September sun.
The rumpled nest of quilts
were pooled around your sleeping form,
and I watched you
breathing in and out—
that beautiful line of your elbow and arm rising up to meet your wrist,
like Adam’s casual response to God’s outstretched forefinger.
God was making all the effort.
And Adam was like,
lounging back in the nude,
a bit laissez faire, if you ask me,
in the face of God’s intensity of *capital-C* Creation.
Like He was on some sort of cosmic merry-go-round
and if He didn’t put out his finger just right in that exact moment,
—and despite that terribly awkward position—
He might have missed the golden ring.
“Dammit, Adam, could you at least sit up? And put out your finger! Come on man, make an effort!”
There you were,
enjoying that last delicious sleep of the summer.
Your face was relaxed,
captured so perfectly between
depending on how I shifted my gaze.
Your hair was perfect,
even in sleep.