My 22-year-old son moves in with me tonight. As I write, he is boarding in Cincinnati and will show up at Logan in about two and a half hours. I hope. My son is a lot like me; he has adventures, and with the whole state of Ohio to have them in–whoa nelly! Anything could be happening, and since “phone” is still an exotic concept of which we speak, there’s nothing I can do but wait.
As always, there are complicating factors–maybe it will thunder, maybe it won’t, and maybe Logan will get a wild hare up its ass and throw down some dramatic security measures for Mrs. Obama, here today to talk to the Marathon Bombing survivors. But as of now Delta assures me things are A-OK, and I refuse to hear any threatening music in the background. Instead, I wait here at the office until it’s a reasonable time to go wait at the airport.
I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve been waiting for eleven years. After a court battle, custody of my two children was split between the parents, and through an unusual combination of power, spite, and the judge’s overlooking the concept “visitation order,” I’ve seen my son four times in the last decade. I can never forget burying my face in his curls that one last time before getting behind the wheel to take his silent and gray-faced older sister back to what used to home, and would be spun into a two-person home again, but for a while was just the place where we lived with an empty room.
That was eleven years ago, and after adventures, my daughter and I now have a happy (if too-tiny) home which we share with a cat and two ferrets. The adjustments will now have to go the other way: buying more food and toilet paper rather than less, having to house him on the couch instead of letting odds and ends fill a room without an occupant. No more slouching around our bachelorette pad semi-clad. Our family is bigger now, with all the excitement and stress that entails.
My own adjustment has to go the other way too. In order to keep it together at least for a few months, I sat as hard on all that horrible ugly pain as I could. I’ve survived many nightmares, but this was the worst. I couldn’t dissociate away from it, and nothing helped–nothing except focusing on my daughter, who was dealing with her own trauma over a judge who hadn’t believed her and had taken her little brother away. Shutting myself down was all I had, and it wasn’t healthy.
I have to open the cupboard, now that it’s safe, now that it’s over. As I write this, my Pandora is playing the title music from Star Wars–which seems only appropriate. I’m one of those annoying people whom John Candy apostrophized at the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “What? Was your mother a key grip?”–I have to sit through all the titles or It Doesn’t Count. The resolving chord, that weird little MPAA symbol. (My tribe has no apologies now that movies have occasionally started rewarding us with extra scenes as Easter eggs. Bwah ha, oh daughter pacing in the lobby!)
I waited. Am waiting. They’re running the list of post-post-production assistants, and my son’s plane has left Ohio (with him on it oh please) and is in fact running twenty minutes early. Tomorrow I will have the nuisance of tiptoeing through a morning routine that doesn’t involve lolling on the couch, and in the days after that, so many little annoyances involved in getting my country mouse installed in the Big City. Many annoyances. Sibling opera. Crowded house. Can’t wait.