Last week I drove down to New Mexico, this time with Clay, to pick up Max from camp and drop off Tre. Actually, Tre drove part of the way down too. If you think that was "helpful" or "relaxing," then you haven't really thought that through. My wee baby boy, who is somehow 15 years old. Going 75 MPH. I'm pretty sure I inadvertently knotted my seat belt into a rosary, trying to sit quietly in the back seat while Clay instructed.
Nonetheless, we got there, and we collected Max. He was filthy, and his flip-flop had broken that morning, so it was flailing around his foot like a wounded bird. He was too busy and pleased with himself to go change shoes.
He took up saxophone this week, and he loved it. When he'd mentioned he was interested in sax, I just figured that made sense. He's constructed with just the right mix of quirk and cool. Tre and I had a discussion the other day wherein we chose instruments for everyone in the family. Sophia, you'll be interested to know, is a trumpet player. Because they are bright and kind of bossy and think the world revolves around them.
He introduced me to one of his friends, a girl. They went to the dance together. Later I asked, "Can I ask you something personal?"
So I didn't.
We unloaded Tre's belongings and loaded in Max's. It's hard to know what you feel in a moment like that.
Tre could barely see us, he was so thrilled to be back at camp. This is his other home, his happy place. This year he's a counselor in training, a CIT.
Max said he was ready to go home, but since he's been home he's been sick. I think half of his illness is from the physical cratering after a week of no sleep and lots of drama and camp food, but the other half is grief from leaving it all behind.
I met some friends for lunch today and rudely informed one of them that I was currently a wreck from driving down to New Mexico two weekends in a row.
"I think of myself as a people person, you know," I babbled, not really thinking of how this might sound to this really great person who drove over an hour to meet me and another friend, "but take me out of my house too often, and I'm a mess. I just want to spend a week in bed."
She was awfully kind about it, but I replayed my words in my head later and winced. What a jerk I can be.
But it's true. I am moving slow this week, sort of dazed and muffled at the heart.
It just keeps happening. These children of mine stretch up and out into the world, finding their own spaces, their own voices, their own happy places.
It's exactly what I want for them, yet I keep walking behind them with a faltering step, watching the gap grow.
I just can't see it yet, from here, where my happy place will be when they have found their own.