"Now, don't cry when we start carrying his things out of here," said the man from Atlas Van Lines. "The first one out of the house is hard."
Well, I'm not crying . . . yet.
But it is a strange feeling. As I'm typing this, perfect strangers are packing, sorting, and wrapping our son's things into boxes and loading them into a large Atlas moving truck parked in front of our house. After twenty-two years it's all going: the furniture, clothes, art supplies, television, video games, board games, cleaning supplies, posters, and books.
There are more books than anything -- from Dostoyevsky to Naruto -- and, more than anything, I think it's the books that have caused a lump in my throat. Nicholas is the only one in the family who shares my love of reading, and through the years we've exchanged novels and have had wonderful conversations about some of the books we've read.
It's all happening so fast. Today is Nicholas' last day in Denver, tomorrow he flies home, and on Sunday he and Jonathan will drive out to Little Rock, Arkansas. Joe, Timothy, and I will follow a few days later to help Nicholas move in, after which the four of us will say goodbye and go on a little road trip.
I know some may see the finality of a child moving out as an ending, but I like to see it as a transition. There will be a shift in our family dynamics, and certainly a period of adjustment, but it will also be a springboard to new beginnings, traditions, and adventures.
Just the same, though, I think I'll keep a box of tissues nearby.