When I got home from the dropoff trip, I opened Lauren's door and sighed at its emptiness. She pretty much packed up everything and cleared the room out, partly because it needed to be that thoroughly cleaned (she's an accumulator, that girl) and partly because bedroom space is at such a premium around here that we might need to use it for other uses when she's gone.
Later in the day, G said "oh, you opened her door! I've kept it shut because it's too hard to see it so empty and Laurenless."
We realized, G and I, that part of our melancholy is because we are both oldest children in our families. We've never been the person left behind before! We did the moving out, intoxicated with new freedom and forward momentum and oblivious to the shifts in the family plate tectonics we left behind. I have a new appreciation for those youngest children in families, who say goodbye and adjust, goodbye and adjust, goodbye and adjust, bearing witness to the dwindling resident family numbers and the countdown to an empty nest.
So I want to apologize, these decades later, to my youngest brother. Sorry, Chris. Being left behind kind of stinks.
That's not to say what we have right now, with the four of us, isn't wonderful. It is, and all the sweeter for realizing how quickly the time will fly until we will say goodbye and adjust, goodbye and adjust, again. We've shifted our places at the dining table to be more cozy. Maddy and Sam get along famously and seem to be closer than ever: friends as well as sibs. We text and call Lauren like crazy and love to hear about her life and update her on ours. For instance, Maddy is in the throes of watching the disgusting driver's ed movies and Sam is rereading the summer book assignment for 8th grade for good measure and learning Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the ukelele. Life is good. We're adjusting and shifting.
. . .
FYI, Lauren has started a blog of her college days. Email me if you'd like to know where to find it...I asked and she's fine with us living vicariously through her. :)