Thursday, June 25, 2015

Saying good-bye

When I was a kid, saying good-bye left me sad and anxious. I'd meet someone visiting our summer camp in Weld or on a weekend exchange for school sports. I'd find them interesting or fun or as confused as I was, and we were fast friends When we parted after the week or a long weekend, I felt bereft. None of my friends were as special as this person...

That hollow, lonely feeling has plagued me for a lifetime to varying degrees. The worst case happens when "my kids" leave after a summer or full-year exchange. It takes me a few days to get out of my funk. When I left Felix at the airport, that empty feeling invaded me. As I turned the car into the driveway at 728 Prospect Avenue, I had to take a deep breath. The next day I climbed Whitecap Mountain at a fast pace and ran down. In the evening, exhausted, I could barely keep my eyes opened watching the Red Sox. In the back hallway, Bailey had collapsed, too. His feet back peddled and little yelps sounded: I like to think in his puppy dreams that once again he chased the boys across the lawn with the soccer ball.

Thursday morning, June 25, 2015
Today, I have their room organized, clothes returned to Caleb, cards sent, and the laundry pretty much done. Their bathroom remains: "Did they ever clean behind the toilet?" I sent a SnapChat to the boys early this morning with a picture of Bailey sleeping on the Victorian couch. They wrote back immediately with photos, reminding me that they'll always be there and that our times together are etched in my memory.

Now, it's time to work in earnest on the second edition of A Guide to Creating Student-Staffed Writing Centers, a book published in 2006. I'm also teaching a couple of classes and trying to keep on the mountain paths. I even bought a new weight bench and hope I can fight off the upper body woes that all aging men suffer.

There's still that hollow place inside, but with each day it gets filled up with the laughter and good memories of a year well spent with two boys that I love and admire.

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