The sight lifted me as I turned the corner, arriving home: Mike’s red clunker parked on the driveway apron, ED’s navy sedan in the driveway, and Blue Boy’s silver sedan on the street. Everyone was home.
My surge of contentment was short-lived when I realized that Blue Boy was not.
Sending Blue Boy off to college was tough for all of us. For a young man who spent most of his home life in his room, his absence has left a palpable sense of loss in the household. That sense intensifies when the silver sedan on the street shows Mowgli is home. Not Blue Boy. As if even the silver bullet mourns his launch. Lest the reader think I am not happy to see Mowgli, I clarify that until recently, Mowgli did not have a license to drive. The sedan meant both boys were home. Now it denotes a missing element.
Our previous dog Jigga was an American bull who kept close track of the family. When anyone was missing from the house, she stayed close to the door until they returned. She leaped into my arms when I returned from a long absence, jumping around on my bed as I unpacked, telling me in dog speak all that had transpired and how worried she had been. Knowing that she would be heartbroken, we never kenneled her when we were gone, either sending her to her dog cousin Noel’s or hiring an attentive house/dog sitter who comforted her with Starbucks puppuccinnos.
Longer ago than I can believe, Mike and I treated the family to an Alaskan cruise to celebrate our 60th birthdays. Returning to the ship at the end of one shore excursion, we were browsing a shop on the pier when the ship’s horn announced imminent departure. I proposed that Mike and I continue to board. Visibly agitated, he insisted on waiting for his babies, adults though they were. Recalling that moment reminds me of Jigga. The same sense nags me when I see that silver sedan in the street, illustrating that only 4/5 of the family is home. I feel agitated and disappointed that my household is once again diminishing in size. Blue Boy’s venture into the world will no doubt be of great value to society, but it has left a hole in this household.