After dinner Clay trailed after Sophia, trying to keep her from abusing the air conditioner in the back yard. I was back there, trying to wrest my garden out of the grip of entropy. Since we were in the same general vicinity, we were able to tackle three tasks at once, always a happy thing (gardening, Sophia-wrangling, and talking to each other - SCORE).
I was tying up tomato plants and pulling weeds, while pausing in between to sneak snacks of parsley. I love tearing off hunks of soft parsley leaves and eating them right there. They taste fresh and spicy and intensely green. Clay claims that the fact that they turn my tongue bright neon green is not sexy. I don't understand how that could possibly be true.
While I pulled weeds and Clay pulled Sophia away from the air conditioner unit, we chatted. Eventually the conversation found its way to the fact that Tre is leaving for camp on Sunday. I've been intentionally ignoring this, but tonight I conceded that Sunday is, in fact, arriving soon.
"TWO WEEKS," I said. "He'll be gone for TWO WEEKS. What were WE THINKING?"
"He'll have a great time. No, Sophia," Clay responded, scooping her up and carrying her away from the air conditioner.
"I know. He can't wait to go."
"You'll be okay too."
We worked in silence for a moment. As Clay carried Sophia across the yard again, I sighed.
"You know what I've realized about the kids growing up and leaving?" I asked. "I actually thought it would feel like it felt from the kid side of things. You know, a little sad, a little scary, but mostly exciting." Clay gave me a dubious look over Sophia's head. "Yeah, I know. But I'm realizing it's not like that. From the parent's side it's exciting and a little scary, but mostly it just sucks."
"Yes, it does. But it's how it's supposed to work, too. No, Sophia."
"I know. You know what else I realized? You know how people tell you to cherish every moment, because they grow up so fast? Yeah, well, cherishing doesn't stop that. AND it doesn't make it any easier either."
"Hey," Clay walked over to me, Sophia sitting on the crook of his arm, her soft arm flung around his broad shoulder. He slipped the other arm around me. "You know it'll be okay, right?" He leaned in to kiss me. "And you know I love you and I'M not leaving."
I sighed again and let him kiss me. And again. Eventually Sophia squirmed down and trotted off, intending to molest the air conditioner again. For a moment though, Clay stayed there, holding onto me.
He does love me. I'm a lucky woman. And truly, how could he resist the green tongue?