March SOLC–Day 20
Hiss! Sizzle! Woosh! Flame leaps off the grill and the nearby diners gasp and applaud. Two of our three children, Connor and Lydia, are heading back to school tomorrow and we wanted to spend the last evening together. We opted for Hibachi–a delicious, sensory explosion. Flaming grills, juggled eggs, flashing blades, volcanic onions and vegetable missiles equal guaranteed fun.
The downside of hibachi is the noise of the grill and the potentially encroaching volume of the conversations of the assorted groups seated around it. On the periphery of our group, I tried hard to focus, not wanting to hear the admiring Trump comments on my left (especially with sharp implements close at hand), and unable to fully hear our group’s conversations. With my son’s girlfriend with us, we were a group of 5. That seemed odd to me. 5 is our family number. Countless reservations, tickets, and orders for 5 at countless places over countless years. How can we be 5 when Adeline (my older daughter) isn’t here? She’s been studying in England since January and to me, her absence is palpable. Our group is incomplete: tonight 5 doesn’t equal 5.
“I miss Addie right now,” I said to Lydia, then paused. “Actually I miss her whenever I breathe,” I added, somewhat melodramatically.
“Well, then, don’t breathe,” suggested Lydia, helpfully. We both laughed and a quiet moment passed.
“I’m going to miss you, too,” I said.
“I know,” she said, “I don’t feel like I’ve had much time off.” She rested her head on my shoulder and tucked her arms around me. I leaned into her and kissed her forehead, relishing her affection, her proximity. I looked across the grill at my son, sitting between his girlfriend and his father. I couldn’t hear what was said but I watched him as they chatted, saw the expressions flit across his face. This was his final spring break. He’s graduating in May and won’t be living at home this summer. Possibly not ever again.
Hiss! Sizzle! Woosh! The flames leapt into the air again, a bit blurry now. I blinked and deliberately shook off the mood, the melancholy. I leaned back into Lydia, into the conversation, determined to enjoy the time I had right now and count each moment as precious.
There will be plenty of time for missing later.