Zachary is about to leave to spend two weeks with his grandparents. After that, he’ll come back and Benjamin will leave to spend a week there. For those of you who had to repeat pre-calculus, that adds up to three weeks with one boy in D.C. while the other is home.
This means there will be three entire weeks during which my sons will not be fighting with one another. It does not escape my attention that we had to separate them by 442 miles in order to accomplish this ceasefire. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
It also means that for the next two weeks, we can eat whatever we want. Like, whatever we want. Two weeks without worrying whether the restaurant might have bread that’s going to be acceptable to Zachary. Two weeks of food with things like protein, spice, and flavor. Two weeks of living like normal people do.
But it also means two weeks without my little man, his earnest blue eyes and his quirky seven-year-old conversation with a thirty-seven-year-old’s vocabulary. Two weeks without anyone asking me to read his poem or suggesting that maybe, just maybe, there’s a publisher out there who wants to publish a bildungsroman memoir by a third grader. Two weeks without his whackadoodle inventions that usually involve some sort of ribbon wrapped around his waist, a roll of tape, and an empty cardboard box.
And it means that tomorrow morning, I’ll be putting him on a plane. Alone. He’s a little apprehensive. I’m a little scared shitless. Yes, I know I’ll be with him till he gets on the plane and a person from the airline will walk him to his grandparents. I know he has their phone number tucked into his luggage, his carryon, and his pocket. I know that we all did this as kids and seem to have survived to tell the tale. I don’t know whether he’ll get a little pin from the airline, what with cutbacks and all, but I do know he’ll be alright.
Somehow, that doesn’t make it any easier to know that tomorrow, my baby will walk off down the gangplank, taking one more step away from me. They’re all so independent, my kids. They don’t cry or cling. They march off into school or camp with whatever anxieties they may have, but certainly no worries about leaving me behind.
And I have to let them go.