My older son, now a newly-minted adult, travelled by train the other day to visit the town we left back in 1995, and his father and grandparents. He’s trying to find some answers, and some closure, and while I wish he had not felt a need to ever see those people again, I can understand that he did. He won’t be gone for long, but when he gets back, he’s planning on working toward moving out for good.
And my daughter is packing already; she now has her own place with three friends, and when she isn’t at work, she’s looking toward this new future. She’s going to be on her own in just a handful of days, and will suddenly become a visitor when she’s here.
With a five-year-old child still zipping around the place, I cannot say the house is silent. But it suddenly has moments of silence in places where I previously had noise … when my little guy is working on a drawing and I cannot hear the older two, playing a game together or discussing who reall did direct that movie, when I turn a corner and confront a room that has been inhabited nearly round the clock for years to say something to a kid who suddenly isn’t there. We homeschooled, so we were together all the time. I’m used to the comforting reassurance of knowing where my people are, and knowing that they’re fine.
They’re ready to grow up, and ready to move on with their lives. And much of me is ready to see them do this, and proud that they have both grown up to be good adults, and people that I like as well as love. But a part of me is haunted by the unexpected silences, and by the sharp cutting of the passage of time. I still remember the weight of each of them as babies in my arms, their parades of firsts and accomplishments. Those memories are as fresh as yesterday, only now I’m forced to hold up those pictures and admit the fading around the edges that I was not ready to see.
And the silences chill like the first cold snap, with winter coming close behind.