I have always been relatively ambivalent about rollercoasters except for this one time when I rode “Superman,” where one rides as if they are flying, facing the ground. I was legit terrified, a full on panic attack. I wanted it to stop immediately. I have felt that feeling only a few times before, once in an MRI and once at Cave of the Mounds, where the underground passage got too narrow and they turned off the lights. I was pretty sure we were all going to be buried alive.
It’s been a hard day. Luke was home for a few weeks and I was really used to him again. His laugh and his ease, his quirks and his stories … his generous willingness to give Quinn a bath and tuck him into bed with stories and blanket fort. He left at six this morning and that airport drop off never gets easier for me. I watch him standing in the check-in line, leather jacket in the middle of August because it is too heavy for his suitcase, his long hair draping him like a picture frame, staring off into the distance with the corners of his smile eternally turned upwards and I just ache. Two thousand miles is too far to go and yet it’s the only direction there is. I will miss him.
I drove home and picked up Lizzie for coffee. On our way there I ran over a squirrel who had been playing with his little squirrel friend. This flattened my heart completely until Lizzie assured me that I probably saved him from a falcon who would slowly eat him alive. I felt a little better until after her pause when she added, “or it was that other guy’s soulmate.”
This afternoon we started to pack up her stuff for Michigan. Off to college she goes, my freshman and my senior … I am not sure how a heart can feel so full and so empty at the same time, but it does. On the way back from picking up even more storage bins she played Coldplay’s The Scientist and I cried so hard that I turned on the windshield wipers by mistake. “Nobody said it was easy/It’s such a shame for us to part
/Nobody said it was easy/No one ever said it would be this hard.”
We stood in the middle of her bedroom and as she ran garbage bag after garbage bag down the stairs, I stared at all of her little girl things. Polaroids of girlfriends being silly, volleyball medals, magazine posters of high fashion models, her record player, her album collection, her art supplies scattered across her drafting table, her beautiful mess and I just silently thought, “this is ending,” and I could not find the windshield wipers.
My brother simply texted, “roots and wings,” so I thought I would pause to remind all of you who are in the thick of it, planting roots, exhausted from playdates and back to school shopping, aching for your own shot at the remote or just wishing you could have a jar of pickles for dinner instead of having to once again cook for a crew and then clean up after them, that the roots part is easier than the wings part, especially if you have really good roots.
I have two more kids at home. Thank GOD. All of you brave people who chose to only have one child, God bless ya because that is gonna suck hard. I am inhaling deeply, staring at the next in line. He needs me still. So I am gonna go anchor those roots a little deeper and prep for a high school senior year full of highs and lows, a rollercoaster facing the ground, where the passages are often too narrow, and I am going to trust that somehow, somewhere, all those roots intertwine and we will all return home together, free at last.