I came home last Friday to an assortment of boxes in the dining room. Addison’s stuff, all boxed up. He’d already cleaned out things a couple months ago, lugging two garbage bags out of his room to the back door.
“What’s in there?” I asked.
“Like what kind of garbage?”
“Like stuff I don’t need, don’t want and is no good. Junk. Don’t open it MOM!”
I did my moterboat impersonation. “But… but… but…”
“Just don’t, mom. It’s junk. Trust me.”
Later, I sneaked a peek. I resisted pulling out broken artifacts and torn papers from his childhood. It was hard, though.
Saturday morning dawned early, and eventually we all got up. The boys went outside to prepare the van, lugging the back seats out, and tearing away to buy a new matress and a new dresser. A new matress even thought the one he had was brand-new and purchased right before his accident. He really needs full support, not a discount matress. A new dresser because the hand-me-down one he had was big, bulky, heavier than a Sumo wrestler, and stored about as much clothing as a Sumo wrestler wears. And it needed to hold his fishtank with Dudley in it.
I wrung my hands, paced around the house, tidied things halfway and tried to keep busy. They came back at lunch. The next was a quick blur of getting things up and down stairs, cleaning, and figuring out the puzzle of packing all the items in the van. Too much work and too many details to worry about to dwell on feelings, really. When they got to the desk – a near-the-end item – they discovered they had to rearrange half the items packed in there already.
Finally, they were done.
I didn’t cry, exactly. It’s just my eyes started spontaneously leaking. “I love you, baby,” I sniffled into his shoulder as I hugged him tight, standing on the back doorstep so I could reach him. “I love you too, Mom,” he said in that same tone and grin Ron uses when I am being “cute”. Pathetically cute, usually. I watched them both get into the van. I closed the door. This is it, I thought. He’s off on the rest of his life. Without me.
I wandered around the house, drying my eyes so the girls wouldn’t have to witness their mother breaking down, and tried to watch the van leave from the front of the house.
I went to the back door again, and saw the van still in the yard. The boys were in the garage. By the time I opened the door and aksed what was up, they were packing his bicycle in the back of the van and talking about removing the front wheel to get it to fit. “We almost forgot his bike,” Ron said. “Ah,” I said and looked at Addison as he walked by me, again. “Well that was anti-climactic.” He fake-smiled at me really big and did a cheesy wave. “yep. BYE!”
And then they were really leaving.
I wandered back to the front of the house, saw them round the corner. I sniffled again. I dried my eyes on my shirt. I turned to see Meaghan watching me.
“So…” I asked, “Wanna help me move my bed and stuff into Addison’s old room?”