Clay and I picked up Max from camp on Sunday. We were leaving Raphael there for a week, so it was hard to fully enjoy the exhale of having Max back. I mean, after all, first I had to have a panic attack at the thought of leaving Raphael all week, in another state, with no brothers around. Eventually, Raphi managed to peel away my last finger-hold on him and disappear into the boys' dorm, so I slunk off with Clay and Max for the long drive home.
Max didn't sleep hardly at all for the eight hours in the car. That's probably because of the decongestant I gave him (because of COURSE he was sick after two weeks at camp), but regardless, he sat in the back seat and talked about camp.
You know, when you think about a person being distant, in relationship, you think about there being silence. But the feeling I kept getting, as we rolled on and on through the night, with Max's stories scrolling out behind us, was distance. Not that he was rude or unkind in any way. No, but Max has never been able to pretend to be where he's not. And although he and all his dirty laundry (including two towels he didn't leave home with) were all in the car with us, his heart and mind were back at camp. All week long it's been like that. I walk up to him and say something and he blinks, as if surprised to see me.
I know this is all part of the process, the growing up and moving away process that is good and right. You would think I'd be better prepared for it by now. Tre turns 18 this month. Max is going to school in the fall. Raphael is 450 miles away with no family in sight. I should be coming around to the trend here. Their orbits are widening, and Max is at his apogee right now, with his heart slung as far away from me as his trajectory will allow.
Tonight Sophia climbed into my lap and curled up tight against my chest. I wrapped my arms around her, enjoying the tidy bundle of her. She told me that she wished she could crawl inside my belly button and live there, because she is four and four knows no bounds of weirdness. I smelled her freshly washed hair and thought, "Oh my girl. You are only passing close to me today."