Thursday, August 20, 2015

These Last Golden Hours

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever -- Horace Mann

We have returned from my beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee and are now in the waiting time, the time between the end of  vacation and the beginning of school. They are days of mourning the wonderful time just passed and awaiting the empty nest that is soon to come.

These days, about two-weeks of them, are an odd sort of limbo. We prepare for the return to college, making lists, shopping at IKEA, buying new toothbrushes and bottles of shampoo, rewashing the sheets and towels grown musty in summer storage, and wishing for time to stand still.  Despite this flurry of activity, we feel like we are treading water, like we are getting nowhere fast since it has all been done before with the same result - you work hard, shop often, pack everything and then send the children you have raised for 18 years or so away with all those things you spent those last precious days accumulating.

The house becomes empty of their noise, their detritus, and their smelly socks the dog so enjoys dragging around to every room. 

The house becomes empty of them.

And, suddenly, you realize that every moment with them is a golden one.  Golden moments, hours and days that you would repeat in a heartbeat, no matter how contentious they might have been, no matter how dull or ordinary or unremarkable they might have seemed at the time.

I am alone in my house right now. My husband is at a baseball game.The boys have gone off with friends to play some video game or stop for ice cream or pizza one last time at their favorite place in town. They have but one week before they head south. I relish these few stolen moments alone - they, too, are golden during the crowded summer months - but know they will be less golden come the shortening days of fall when alone is commonplace.

It is then that I will miss the late night-noises, the arguments about who is to take out the trash, even the smelly socks. Until that day, I shall hold on to the few golden moments left in this waning summer and be glad for the collection of linens, lamps, and clean laundry that is beginning to accumulate in the living room.

Who would have thought that even smelly socks could be golden?

I would have let him go one finger at a time, until, without his realizing, he'd be floating without me. and then I thought, perhaps that is what it means to be a [parent] - to teach your child to live without you. - - Nicole Kraus