He came to stay for a full four weeks. You always wonder if you’ll have it in you to have a guest stay for such a very long time. If house guests, like fish, go bad after three days, what happens after four weeks? For me, after four weeks, right about the time I’ve fallen into the familiar groove of having him around, I don the new(ish) mask.
Eldest (and I) survived his first year of college, 600+ miles away from home. I should note that he did more than survive; he thrived. Around about November, he started talking with wanderlust in his voice. Instead of coming “home” for the summer, he's coming for a couple of visits. Saddled between four weeks here after spring session ended and three weeks here before the fall session begins, he’s going to be wandering around Europe for a couple of weeks and then he’s going to spend four weeks studying at the Free University of Berlin.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that my first summer after college was the last time I came “home” to my mother’s house. From then on, I visited. I don’t think I ever spent more than two weeks “home” again. I wondered, here and there over the early years, if that was unsettling for my mother. I don’t think it was. I think I’m the one who pinpoints that summer as the end of something.
I can’t imagine how excited (and anxious) Eldest must be, having boarded that Dublin-bound plane just 30 minutes ago. From Dublin to Manchester to Amsterdam to 11 days going wherever and whenever by rail until he needs to arrive in Berlin. He’ll pinpoint this summer as his grand adventure. I, on the other hand, will pinpoint is as the end of something. And the continuation of our new reality.