Wednesday, November 28, 2012.
All 'four' of my boys.
One week ago I sent her off. My oldest child. My only girl. Last year she moved out to Colorado with the family. Then she realized that, at her age, family is great, but friends are better. She missed those NY friends she'd left behind. If she was going to carve out her grown up life, she needed to do it in a place where she had a social life beyond watching Red Box movies with her little brothers on a Friday night.
Six weeks before she turned 21, she piled the bare necessities in her old Buick and set off across the country with her best friend, who had flown out from NY to join her. For three days they lived the script of a teen movie. Two crazy kids exploring the roads that led East. They stopped in Kansas and ran across a corn field. They rode the tiny elevator cars up to the top of the St. Louis Arch and took pictures of views that went on for miles. With a few White Castle burgers as body fuel, they hit the road again.
She's there now. She's unpacked and already started her new job out there. Our relationship now is a series of texts and an occasional Skype session. Just because she's settled doesn't mean I don't miss her any less.
Today, a week after I launched my first child out into the world, I welcomed another one into my home. He's not really 'new' around here. He's the boy my own sons love like a brother. He lived around the block from us in NY, his backyard catty-corner to ours. My boys were very familiar with the path that led from his house to ours, and I was very familiar with his bright smile hanging around my house.
He's skied with our gang, one year breaking his wrist on their first run of the season. He's plotted and planned with my sons, in great detail, how we will all survive the zombie apocalypse that is coming sooner than you know. He's blessed us with personal concerts, playing his electric violin in my living room as I sat back and listened in awe.
Five minutes before I pulled out of our NY driveway, getting ready to drive my three boys across the country to their new home, we snapped pictures of Justin, with his three departing brothers. Then he skateboarded down our driveway and made his way home, as our car crept slowly behind him. It was just too painful to finally let him stay, as we were the ones to go.
And now finally all my boys are reunited. Justin has come to spend the week with us. The boys have mapped out every day of his visit, squeezing in as much as possible. There will be ski runs, for sure. But there will also be a lot of just exploring Colorado. Driving through our old mountain downtown, and circling our lake as the ice slowly freezes over. Showing him all of the trails and parks he's only seen in facebook pictures until this week. Driving him to our favorite places in Denver and in the process sharing a lot of laughs, making a million new memories.
Tonight, his first night back in our fold, we are headed to Little Bear. It's a very old biker bar in our tiny downtown. There is a small elevated stage where a local band will play tonight as my boys scarf down the pizza special. There's no doubt we'll all have a good laugh (again) at all of the random bras that hang above the stage, remnants of wilder nights from the past. It's our favorite place to go hang out when special people are in town.
And Justin qualifies.
Having Justin here doesn't make me miss my girl any less. It's just a different kind of complete. My house is full today. Boys are everywhere. Jokes are being thrown around freely. Food is being sucked out of the back corners of my pantry. The whirlwind won't end until we drop him off at the airport next week. I still miss my girl. But for a brief time I have my other boy back.
And it feels good.