Thursday, September 05, 2013

This missing

It comes in momentary mental flashes, this missing.

I drive down the highway, heading for the big box store and think, "I should get off an exit early and stop by to see Joel at work.  Just grab a lemonade and say hi."  But he's not there.

Or I pull into the driveway and the car he usually drove is in its spot and I think, "Oh, Joel's home."  Except he isn't.

Or we get ready to sit down for dinner and pause, thinking he's about to walk in the door.  But he's not.

These thoughts grab me and twist me up a little bit and I feel an aching for the noise and bustle, the keeping up with schedules and who needs what car when, and where's the soccer game this weekend, and do I have enough food to keep a hungry 18 year old full.

I missed all of my children when they left home for college.  Just one person gone makes a big difference.  In a big family, there are so many relationships, each child with each parent and every sibling.  In our family, way back when, that meant that one person leaving vacated seven relationships for a space of time.  That's a lot of possible interactions and conversations and that's why when only one person left home, it left a big hole.

I'm thinking of it in fractions this morning.  Anyone who knows me will laugh heartily at that thought, since I almost never think in numerical terms.  But what about this: When Erin left, 1/8 of our family was gone.  When Jonathan left, 1/4; Thomas 3/8; Andrew 1/2; Matthew 5/8; and now Joel 3/4.  If I ate 3/4 of the pie, that pie plate would look a lot emptier than if I ate 1/8 of it.  Does this make sense?  Let's just say, that at this moment, it feels like there's a very big hole in the Pinckney pie.

Here's another math analogy.  When Erin left, 1/8 of the people then present in our home was gone; Jonathan 1/7; Thomas 1/6; Andrew 1/5; Matthew 1/4; Joel 1/3.  Any way you slice it, the pie has a big piece missing.

I'm feeling it this morning.

Jane Brocket wrote this:
"It still feels a little odd to have twins somewhere else other than home, but this is what growing up and moving on is all about. It's what you want to happen - you want to get them launched into the world, going off and seeing us and home from afar. We feel a great sense of achievement in getting them this far without any major mishaps (always thankful for this, having seen what can and does go wrong) and we are having to separate ourselves from them, just as much as they are separating from us. It's life, it's the way it goes, it's not a surprise, but when it does happen it makes you realise you have crossed a significant line, and that it's time to look forward. And it's always lovely to see them when we do."

Yep, we've crossed a significant line, alright.  

But, no I don't want to go back.  Maybe you caught that drift if you read yesterday's post.  I am not feeling terribly nostalgic for the old days of lots of little people around.  I'm thankful for all those delightful, exhausting, full to the brim years, but I don't want a re-do.  There is peace and excitement about what's happening now and what's ahead.  The big hole in the pie just takes a bit of getting used to.


Kathie said...

It does take some getting used to! We've had them all gone - and then some back again. Now we have Sarah but this is probably the last year. She's in her final year of college. It will be huge piece of pie when she goes. I don't look forward to it. But we'll adapt and be happy for her. But it really is one of the hardest parts of parenting!

tonia said...

This is lovely and making so much sense to me right now. Thank you for mentoring me. Both of you.