I remember experiencing the same sensations surrounding Drew's birth: the last time I'd get groceries, the last time I'd go to church, the last time I'd run a load of laundry. The next time I did those things would be with my newborn baby boy! Well, this baby boy is heading to Eastern Washington University at the end of this week of lasts. And he will begin a lifetime of firsts.
Yes, I'm sentimental, and the silliest things cause me to tear up. (Like his prosaic text the other day, asking if he could grab a kombucha for me while he was at Safeway.)
Today, I knew about the happy people. I saw a young mom walking the trail as her six children clambered over the monkey bars. One child issued a merry challenge, "Hey mom! You should try to jog the last lap! You can do it!" She was up for the challenge. And she did it. Her children clapped and cheered. "You did it! Good job, Mom!" As I, too, circled the park, she and I struck up a brief but lovely conversation . . . and I was among the "happy people" because of that interaction.
The Peninsula Man also made me smile today. I don't know his real name. The Peninsula Man frequently walks the pond (it would perhaps be more accurate to say he ambles about the pond), always wearing the same cap and vest. His little dog faithfully skips at his side. (I should explain: the children and I took to calling him The Peninsula Man a couple of years ago, when the pond was just a baby. At the time, a narrow peninsula extended from the shore and was quite traversable. At the end of the peninsula lay a log, upon which this man often sat to observe the birds. Alas, the peninsula is now very overgrown and only navigable by frogs and birds.) Well, as we passed each other today and said "hello," The Peninsula Man flashed a quick, semi-toothless grin which inexplicably made me feel like he'd given me a gift.
And as I left the park? Another simple gift. A woman pulled up in her minivan. I expected to see a stream of children issuing from the bowels of the vehicle, which is usually what happens in the world of minivans and parks. Instead, she alone came out, bearing a large plastic container. I quickly noticed that it was filled with grass and arrived at a conclusion: "Oh! Did you find a little critter?" She nodded, "Yes, a bunny." She explained that her dog had found it, and this was her grand Rescue and Relocation attempt. It made me happy that a neighbor took the time to care for a helpless creature.
I was happy later today when my afternoon tea was ready and I decided to change my routine. (My routine: sit in The Big Chair and devour as much tea and book as I can before my family needs me.) Today, I headed instead toward the opposite end of the house, teacup in hand, and tapped on Drew's bedroom door. "Mind if I have my tea in here?" He didn't mind. He was packing, and moms come in handy for that sort of thing, anyway. I sipped my Earl Grey and gave a suggestion or two, folded laundry here and there, arranged boxes, sighed over his childhood monkey, Baboo. Mostly, we just chatted about "the nothings" that make up all "the somethings" of this life.
That just might have been my last afternoon tea in Drew's room. The rest of our week is racing toward us at breakneck speed, and I'm bracing myself for the likelihood that my afternoon tea might be more along the lines of the "to go" variety. But whether or not it was the "last tea before EWU," I know my son is going forth in good hands. He's in the hands of the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. And that makes this mama's heart happy.