Saturday, August 20, 2005

They Grow Up So Fast...

"That's insane!" said the size 3 freshman to the junior in the cut off shirt soaked with sweat. We're moving Dustin into his dorm at Ball State University. The junior in the cut off shirt - was just one of many who were helping nervous parents move their anxious eighteen year olds into 2 x 2 dorm rooms that cost somewhere between $10 & $20,000*. *Cost estimated by my father...over and over again...all day long. It has been two days since we moved my little brother into his dorm room. The day was a momentous occasion. Not just because my little brother became an official college student, but because the entire day was spent in the company of both my parents. Something that hasn't happened in over 15 years. And they didn't yell at each other. Something I don't know has ever happened...ever. We moved his boxes filled with clothes, CD's and DVD's into his dorm room. We squared away his financial aid business and picked up his books. We took a look around the campus. We set up an account for him at the bank. We did every last thing possible to do before he becomes independent - and farther away. After everything was taken care of we sat down for lunch. Dustin and I were both kind of quiet. Hungry, hot and tired. My mother and father, however, proceeded to reminisce about times spent when they first met. The days when they first started going out. I could picture them together, in a dirty break room above a factory where my father worked on a Kibbutz in Israel. I pictured him making her something to eat. Shoveling a mixture of eggs, chicken and whatever else onto a plate and smiling at her the way he was just then. At an IHOP in Muncie. I could picture my mother's brothers shouting at them from outside in the field. My father laughing at their jokes and calling them up. My mother feeling the way a girl does when she is with a man she likes and her brothers. Somewhat protected and vulnerable all at the same time. I looked over at my brother. I wondered what he would look like on my wedding day. Would he be this bigger, older man with more experiences behind him? Would he still have a laugh that could crack asphalt? Would he still be able to scrunch up his face the way he did when he was three? Would he still hug me the same and tell me he loves me, even though he's 18 and standing in his dorm room and anyone could come in and hear him at any time. Even though I've missed out on so much of his life because I have always been so immersed in mine? I didn't cry. Neither did my mom. We walked out of the dorm as quickly as possible and disregarded the rain that was coming down on us on our way back to the car. "Can we cry later?" I asked. My mom laughed. We would laugh all the way home, when my Dad's instructions would be completely wrong and take us through wrong turns and wrong exits. We'd laugh when we got home and told my grandma and my aunt about the day. We laughed as we ate dinner. We never cried. We never talked about him being gone now. Tonight, I get an email from him. He tells me what he's done for the past couple of days. Sounds like he's already got people to hang out with. That's my brother. So much more adaptable than me. He tells me not to worry if he doesn't answer his phone tonight, he'll give me a call tomorrow. And he says, "don't worry, I'll be careful as always." I could have cried.

1 comment:

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