I rather be up and out, or fully asleep, but I am in between.
I’ve showered and put the kids on the bus for their first day of school. It pulled up in front of our new house at 7:15, Oliver and I at the end of the driveway, early and anxious, Steve and Leo in states of half dress on the porch playing our morning roles to a T. They are gone before I can hug them.
Oliver runs onto the bus. I’m worried about Leo though, who’s goodbye ritual has become just that. With a hug and a kiss, then a pantomime hug and a blown kiss, the phrase missyouloveyousomuchrightbackatcha run together like the longest word. Then the dual fist bump ending in a snail antenaed topper, and the latest s, a second fist bump with one snail antannae bent down. Injured snail.
This seems to be the right amount of goodbye for Leo, anything less leaves him feeling tied to us, a kite with its string tangled in the tree.
We made it through exactly none of that and I stood on the lawn waiting to pantomime my part through the bus window but he was negotiating his seat. Having been assigned a spot next to a blond head that at first looked like Oliver but I see is in fact a strange girl.
I’m not sure who is on tilt without the proper goodbye, he or I.
I want to get out into the world, meet about my new project and stop feeling this unfinished business, but there is another goodbye looming. Alex leaves today. After a month woven in to the fabric our our family he goes back to his real life.
It is the third year he has spent August with us, and this makes his departure both more and less memorable. It is a interesting to have an inside outsider around. He notices how we have grown, and how we remain the same. He gives directions to the cab driver on his own, and knows where to pick up the milk. He can negotiate the boys moods, and ours. It is gratifying to have another semi adult with shared memories of road trips, and lost keys, and nights out. It is odd though to see how much older I feel after just two years. Slower, tired-Er.
When he leaves it marks the end of no rules summer, and the beginning of the routine. It also means none of us have a built in playmate, so the corn hole boards and the pool cues are put away, and family card games disintegrate more quickly without anyone to impress.
It is the first day of school, and the last day of everything else. Why are the firsts so fleeting while the lasts, last?