It's Sunday, the day before we leave to take R. to college. He is packed, the earliest I've ever seen him pack up to go anywhere. I showed him how to fold a dress shirt and gave him a lesson of how my mom would pack her clothes. Lay the garment button side down, take some tissue doubled and lay it flat on top of the garment, fold to about 2 inches to the neck down the body of the shirt, folding sleeves carefully in the body on top of the previous fold, fold again in half. My mom for extra measure to prevent wrinkles would add extra tissue before the fold. Sometimes she would then lay the garment inside a dry cleaners bag before putting in a suitcase. It worked. Prevented some serious wrinkles. R. won't be doing this but the pearls of wisdom must be shared if only for me to talk out loud with motherly advice.
My Love is wandering around, bringing items to R.'s room. Something he normally does not do. He took a long bike ride and a short nap but then he was looking for what he could do to help. Clearly R. needs no help from us. We have passed this on over the years leading up to this day.
And I, what do I do? I was great this morning. Happy and cheerful. I went to my gym and all was well until the folding advice. Then it started, the thoughts of him being away and my tears that run down my cheeks, come and go. I have a hard time with goodbyes. Even when I know that I will see a loved one again. It's the goodbye. I washed the last few items he was going to pack and laid them on his crumpled bedsheets. When R. was little I taught him how to make his bed and explained that it was a chore that he was responsible for. And he did make that bed every day except Friday when it was sheet changing day. He has always been responsible.
Then he became a teen and the bed chore sort of passed. Having had the three girls before him and all the difficulties of what to push with teenagers, I chose to let that go. Pick your battles. A bed not made is not a big deal. I don't sleep in it and it is out of my view. The one day of the week I make it is sheet washing day. I did it lovingly because I knew there would be a day he would not be here and this room would languish in a slumber that empty rooms do till someone needs that bed.
His room use to back up to ours from birth till near 4th grade when we moved him back to one of his sister's former rooms. We got a queen bed instead of moving the twin knowing that he would be growing. That queen bed gave him the ability to sleep diagonal which I never could understand. It gave him the ability to make the duvet go sideways and the sheets pushed to the foot of the bed unused. Pillows all over the place but always on the bed. Frankly I couldn't sleep that way but for his teenage rest it was heaven. He does like that bed and now he will have to resort to Twin XL. From four pillows to two. From mom changing sheets to him doing it all.
Quiet day, heavy in the air of departure. Lost parents not knowing which way to go. Not knowing what to say to each other because any possible thought could send us both into an emotional trigger of tears. "Be brave", my mommy mantra of the day that is said calmly in my head and heart.