Last Day of Summer

Today was the last day of my summer with my kids. This morning we got up and loaded the car with Grace’s things for college, and we said goodbye to Mindy and Patrick and the doggies who came for a week, and drove to our destinations. Jay left on a plane a week ago, but I had the girls to console me after I returned from the airport, and after I learned of his canceled flight and how he had to spend the night, penniless, at O’Hare. “He’s alright, Mom. He is going to be fine”, Grace repeated to me over and over until he finally reached Maine.
But this afternoon, after Grace was unloaded and I drove away, the emptiness surged in for real. I was prepared, I knew they were all doing well and were pursuing their education and going to be with their friends, but this year they are all off to completely different locations. Like a shotgun.
I wasn’t prepared. True preparation would have included a friend to ride along and help me through the trip home, or at least a smoke stowed away. But no. I had to be stone cold sober and alert for the next 3 and a half hours until I made the drive home safely, suffering every wave of nostalgia and emptiness, full strength. Nothing but my ipod and a container of macaroni salad to carry me through the trail of sadness. I longed for a cigarette, a joint, a drink, anything to numb the feelings. I turned up the music until I felt it in my chest, and I started on the skittles, and then the sunset on the curving river soothed my sadness enough to remember the things that I had planned this fall. Writing, and turning the guest bedroom into a studio, and churning out clay objects like a one-woman factory. Going on dates with Kenny, teaching new classes, and taking new classes. Walking around the house naked. Writing more letters and making more phone calls to the ones I love. Taking more walks and going back to the gym.
These kids, that you invest your life and your time and your everything into: they just pack up and leave one day, and the holes they leave behind are enormous. I miss them like crazy and worry every day that they are eating right and getting sleep and making friends and doing kind things for others. They don’t call for weeks sometimes. Why we humans keep having them, I don’t know. Why all parents don’t end up on medication, I don’t know.
Those of you who feel my pain: May your back to school be filled with comforting, understanding friends. My heart goes out to all of you.


About genieearle

I make things in my tiny studio called Claywise, as I try to understand the world I live in, and what it means to be human. I have 4 amazing offspring who are making their own paths, and I am currently an outpatient counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center, where we do expressive arts in group therapy. View all posts by genieearle

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