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October 1, 2016

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My dear sweet son texted this photo to me barely a week into his college life adventure. It was a Sunday evening, a couple days after his first-ever full day of college lectures. He and a friend/s had driven down to Mission Beach to explore. I was so glad to learn that he was 1) making friends, 2) inclined to explore, 3) capturing the moment, 4) sharing it with me.

Today, we got to actually talk to the boy. I’d texted him yesterday asking if he wanted to catch up with Jim and me and he said, “yeah.” So we made arrangements to call today and, wow, it was really wonderful. Jim and I huddled excitedly over the phone on the couch in the living room and asked all kinds of questions and got all kinds of answers.

Our first official catch up conversation was great!

Have I mentioned how weird it is around here without Peter?

  • We are buying far less food, just like they said. We buy milk in quarts instead of gallons and it lasts days.
  • We’re running the dishwasher maybe twice a week instead of nearly daily.
  • His bathroom is clean and guest-ready. We’re not sending people down the hall to use ours anymore.
  • My daily rounds of tidying are not even happening. I realize now that I routinely spent at least 30 minutes every morning returning things to their proper rooms, pushing chairs under tables, removing empty cartons of milk from the refrigerator, making beds (yes, including Peter’s), hanging up towels, throwing away broken pencils, wiping counters, straightening rugs, putting shoes away, collecting socks, replacing couch pillows… gosh, so many things to restore order on a daily basis… and now I don’t need to do any of it.
  • Jim and I are not buying an elephant ear from Davis Bread and Desserts at Saturday’s Farmer’s Market.
  • Neither of us is stopping at the Hotdogger, or Burgers & Brews, or Chipotle to bring home Peter’s regular order.
  • Jim’s not doing a gargantuan load of Peter’s laundry on Sunday mornings.
  • Not that they’ll go bad, but we’ve little use for A-1 sauce, the packs of ramen noodles, the boxes of mac & sneeze, or the copious quantities of balsamic vinegar that were the mainstays of Peter’s diet.
  • When we come home at night from somewhere, Peter’s not sitting at his computer with every light in the house on. There are no spatulas on the counter (a sign he’d been practicing some kind of swing), no rubberband chains strung between chairs, no golf clubs in the living room. The house is silent, minimally lit and just like we left it: orderly.

Well, there are dozens more signs of his not being around, and let me tell you, it’s taking some getting used to. Let me also tell you, I’d welcome all of it back into our daily reality in a heartbeat. Never minded, of course, any of it. LOVED some of it (“Elfin ear?”, “Food?”). While quiet and easy peasy, it’s just plain weird.

We’re also adjusting to new rhythms and routines, and lots of new normals, as relate to our interactions with Peter. Do we text, call? How often? How much space is right for him, how much connection does he need?

I have to say, though, so far, it’s all okay, but it’s only been two weeks since we returned from La Jolla without him.

Still in the glow of being thrilled for him, so no empty nest despair. There’s also a bit of novelty in the tranquility around here. Not sure what to expect as the weeks and months unfold… for now, holding up okay. And I know he is, too.

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