The NEW New Normalcy

August 30th, 2010

First of all, I’m back.

You probably didn’t notice I was gone.  I don’t like to advertise when I’m out of town, which says something about how old I am. You can draw a line between the older generations, who were taught NEVER to say out loud, “Oh, yes, we’re about to go on vacation” anywhere in public because their parents shushed them and told them later it was dangerous to let strangers know the house might be empty, and the younger generations, who blithely post photos of themselves ziplining in Costa Rica–which I’m sure the house thieves enjoy as they view the pictures on the computers, laptops, and iPhones they STOLE from the travelers’ house that same day.

Anyway, we were gone and now we’re back and nothing was stolen, and my niece who housesat for us seems to have survived except for some guilty feelings about not having been able to pet the cat (she has allergies and the cat is very needy).  She and the dog slept together.  I’m fairly certain it was a platonic arrangement, but we run a strict “don’t ask/don’t tell” household here when it comes to bestiality.  And chocolate consumption.

For most of the vacation, we sat around the house while it rained, gazing at the lake from a safe distance and working our way through the HUNGER GAMES trilogy (rereading the first two, excitedly tearing into the last one which came out last Tuesday) and eating lobster salad by the bucketful which could explain the extra tire I brought home around my middle.  The security guys at Logan Airport pulled me aside and made me stand in the middle of the security area with my hands up in the air and I swear it was just so they could all have a good laugh at my stomach.  Oh, and I think they were also using that machine that shows you naked, but the joke’s on them: I look awful naked.  Ha.

Anyway, other than eating lobster salad and taking walks when the rain finally cleared, we didn’t do much.  Wait–there was one thing.  What was it again?  It keeps slipping my mind.

Oh, yeah.  We dropped my oldest son off at college.

Moving him into the dorm room. Everyone helped.

Not a big deal.  We moved him in, ate some lunch, heard some speeches . . .  and then they took a knife, plunged it into my heart, twisted it around, pulled the heart from my chest, tossed it, still beating, on the ground, and jumped up and down on it for a while.

They made us say goodbye.

You think it won’t be so bad.  After all, the kid can drive you crazy.  And he’s been pretty independent for a while, so what’s the big difference?  One mouth fewer to feed, less laundry (although he was doing his own mostly), a schedule you don’t need to keep track of–it’s not all bad, right?

Yeah, none of that was going through my head when he hugged me goodbye.  Just a dreadful, painful tearing feeling.  And a sense that something would feel wrong about my life from now on.

I’ll adjust.  I know I’ll adjust.  We’ve adjusted to a lot in our lives and we always get back to a new normal.  My eyes will stop tearing up at the slightest thing.  Sometime.

Just not yet.

  • Kim says:

    Good grief, now I’m crying.

  • Claire says:

    You are going to be such a wreck in two years, Kim . . .

  • Ann Brown says:

    I didn’t tell anyone on my blog that I was out of town, either, until I came back. It’s a generational thing? That’s good news – I just thought it was a neurotic, alarmist, paranoid thing.
    Isn’t weird that even though you still have, like, thousands of children at home (see how I didn’t divulge anything specific?), there is an empty nest-ish feeling? And emptiness doesn’t feel good at first. But it will soon stop feeling bad.

  • Um, Harvey and your house sitter getting intimate… ew. He’s like, fifty years old or something.

  • Emma says:

    For the record, this house sitter is not interested in 50 year olds. Or dogs.

    Probably should have listed that first…

  • Claire says:

    Maybe you SHOULDN’T get a little Yorkie puppy, Emma.

  • annie says:

    It will be alright. I promise.

  • rachelhamm says:

    Be happy he’s gone now, because he might be moving back in a couple of years…

    Chin up, friend! He still loves you- he let you hug him goodbye!

    I always tell people when I’m going out of town, but as I’m a nomad, it doesn’t really matter, because if I’m out of town, someone’s still at home. Plus, there’s nothing at home worth stealing!

  • rachelhamm says:

    Oh, and PS, I did notice you were gone, but feared commenting asking where you were lest you start considering me a nag 🙂

  • Claudia says:

    I loved the way you made that leap from lunch and the speeches to the knife plunged into your heart. That’s how fast it is to go from the ordinary to the shock of grief and loss. When my son went to college his first year, I wanted to walk up and down the hall handing out twenty dollar bribes to anyone who would knock on his door and introduce himself and forty dollar bribes to anyone who would ask him to come join them at dinner. I feared for his happiness the most. The other things — missing his presence — would come, but the biggest concern was would my boy be sitting all alone. Would he make a friend?

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