Our last Thanksgiving visitor left this morning. I have finished rounding up all the guests' sheets and towels. The grandkids' toys are back in their storage box, the forgotten p.j.'s have been mailed, and the house looks pretty much like it usually does. But today's goodbye was harder than earlier ones because our older son is on his way to Brazil where he will be the Brazilian correspondent for GlobalPost, a just-launching international news website. It's a very exciting and good opportunity for him and we support this move 100%.
On the other hand, having him so far away is hard. No longer can he jump into his car and come home for a weekend just because it's been a while or because one of us (usually me) has had an emergency appendectomy or a knee replacement. No longer can we do the same in the other direction when we feel that we need a dose of Seth. Yet we will have a reason to visit a country that is new for us, with a guide who knows it well.
Seth reminds us of his journalist friend who has just been sent to Afghanistan. I remind him that hearing that someone (in this case his friend's mother) is worse off than I am has never made me feel better.
It doesn't seem like that many years since I declared that my son would never be permitted to cross the street without me. I got over that when he left for college, but Brazil seems a lot further away, and there aren't any semester breaks.
When I wrote my first blog entry last January, I mentioned that there would invariably be some losses in this decade. Thankfully, this isn't the kind of loss I had in mind.
But the house is very, very quiet.