Josiah’s bed is loaded with piles of clothes: dress shirts on hangers at the foot, jeans in the middle, pajamas scattered across his pillow. A box on the floor holds shoes, pencils, ADD medication, his Bible. It looks like an earthquake catapulted his belongings out of his closet, but the earthquake is only in my heart. He is nearly giddy with anticipation of seeing old friends and starting a new adventure. He asks me how he should pack his t-shirts, and when I look at him from the other side of the room, I see the stitches he got when he was three, I hear how he mispronounced words that started with bl, I can still feel his feather-whispy hair against my cheek.
“Mom,” Drake calls from downstairs, “is there anything I’m forgetting?”
“Did you get your bedding?” I ask.
“Oh! I think it’s in my closet,” he answers. We spend the next half hour searching for random objects he may need at his dorm until his Jeep is loaded: boxes of clothes in the backseat, his guitar in the front seat, and his rolled up rug sticking out the passenger window. As he drives away, I see the big wheel he raced down the hill when he was three, I hear him singing Deep and Wide as he collected rolly pollys in a jar, and I can still feel his sweaty hand in mine as we crossed the street on his first day of Kindergarten.
I feel like a time capsule. I hold all the memories, and I see them all at once. I hear the deep, manly voice, but I also hear the lisp from saying words without front teeth. With our time limited, I want to savor each moment and pack it safe inside.
They don’t like it, though, when I sit and stare at them. Apparently, that’s creepy.
How will this work, I wonder. Nobody understands these guys like I do. Who will tell the world that Drake will forget to eat if he isn’t reminded? Who will tell the world that if Josiah is sick, his temperature may go down instead of up? I’m not sure how to do this next stage. Don’t even get me started on Emery starting her senior year of high school because…no.
It’s the spaces that get to me: the empty chair, the roomy driveway, the quiet basement.
The rightness of the change doesn’t erase all the empty. I would gladly sell all my belongings if I could move in to a dorm just down the hall. But I guess moms aren’t allowed to go to college with their kids. Apparently, that is also creepy.