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August 20, 2014 / jeffnward

The house is way too quiet today!

Even the dog is more than a bit unsettled about the pack being broken up again. She keeps looking at me as if to say, “you’re it?” And then I try to give my best “Hey! I’m better than nothing” look right back at her.

Even the parakeets are more sedate than usual today.

There’s no silly one-sided computer conversations in which my younger son’s increasing volume consistently annoys the crap out of me. Thankfully, the threat of an 80 watt Smells Like Teen Spirit onslaught is usually enough to get him to bring it down a few decibels.

Empty House

What I can’t get over is, he really doesn’t get together with his friends all that much, they Skype over online computer games. At his age, I couldn’t wait to get out of the house, but then again, my parents were nuts.

So now I’m sitting here missing that strange dynamic. Go figure!

Not only that, but I keep waiting for my older son to come bounding down the stairs, clearing the final five steps in a one grand leap, and landing with a rather loud 150 pound thud. This, of course, sends the shape of the area rug into the kind of wave pattern that presents quite a hazard to older folks like myself.

But seeing that rug lying perfectly flat today simply solicits a small sigh. They’ve only been in school a few hours and I already miss having them around.

We had a great summer!

The older one and I built so many Lego Star Wars contraptions together that we had to purchase two separate sets of shelves just to display them. It took a little longer for the younger one and I to get a handle on that Warhammer 40,000 plastic model tank, but as soon as we’re done with that it’s gonna be the Starship Enterprise.

Most of today’s wistfulness, I’m sure, is a symptom of the diligence with which each new school year seems to approach. Like a large clock in which the giant gears shift only once every 365 days, those unnerving ticks seems to be accelerating. And now the prospect of college is looming larger than ever.

Weren’t they just five and seven years old? Has it really been six years since Elementary school!

Of course I want them to grow up, move on, and be happy – and the fact that I like having them around so much certainly bodes well for their future. I just wish there was a hidden Wellsian dial by which we could better regulate the passage of time.

Why do the best things in life have to happen so quickly?

But thankfully, there is a saving grace that can actually stave off that relentless calendar march. It’s the sometimes subtle fact that, aside from one ill-advised detour, I’ve been granted the unique opportunity to see my boys grow up every step of the way. Even if it were possible to erase a memory, there is no amount of money you could place in my palm that would persuade me to give that up.

It’s nice to not have a regret for once.

I’m not sure if that was my original intent, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s simply comforting to finally understand that, given the opportunity, the Universe can be such a kind and compassionate companion. God really does protect children and fools!

In 1975, Ann Landers famously reported that, if given the opportunity to go back, 70 percent of parents would not have children. I’d do it all over again in a flash!

Ah! But all is not lost dear readers. In a couple of hours that gleaming yellow bus will pull right up to the corner and my two sons will slowly amble up to the front door. And I’ll be waiting right there with a large smile on my face ready to offer the kind of bear hugs that make ‘em wish I worked outside the house.

I’ll ask them about their first day of school while generally expecting nothing more than monosyllabic responses because the younger one will want to head straight for his computer while the older one bounds up to his room to relax. There will be time for tanks and Legos.

Then I’ll simply sit back in that home-office chair to enjoy all the noise while I revel in the fact that everything is exactly where it should be.

One Comment

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  1. The other Jeff N / Aug 20 2014 1:39 pm

    Jeff, we were out playing and visiting our friends face to face because there was no such thing as cell phones, home computers, and the internet. When we talked about “dialing” a phone, we really did. I guess maybe I’m a little jealous, though. Mine are all grown up and in Alaska, North Carolina, and Guam. Guess they really wanted to get away, huh? But they’re all good people, with good values and serving others. I believe we’re here on this planet to leave it a little better than we found it. I did.

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