Today's the day for my family. It's a big day. A strange day. A blip in the road, if you will, that always makes Joe and me look a little more lovingly at this incredible life we've created together. We never know what the path ahead holds for us, which is exciting and nerve-wracking, al rolled into one. But today I know. It's the beginning of two weeks of the most empty kind of silence.
In just about an hour, I'll start to wake up my youngest four boys and gently coax them into the shower. I'll treat them to warm towels fresh from the dryer as they come out clean and ready for their adventure. I'll grab their pillows and any last-minute items, toast some bagels and shake up the orange juice. And, with a freshly-brewed container of coffee in the cup holder, the five of us will head out on our two-and-a-half hour ride to their summer's best two weeks.
I don't know what it is about Sheldon Calvary Camp. It's certainly not luxurious. The food's not the best and the boys always come home to us a little thinner, tanned, hoarse, and exhausted. But on the rocky banks of Lake Erie, something magical takes place. My sons talk about it all year and nag me all January to sign them back up for next year once registration opens.
The silence in the house when they're gone is deafening. It's as though I've turned the calendar eight years forward to the sad day when the twins go to college and Joe and I are empty nesters. That will be a new chapter. And we'll get used to it, the same way we did diapers, car seats, elementary school, and camp. For now, I think I'll take my slice of bread and soak up this delicious gravy.
The boys and I get to see Michael for the first time in nearly five weeks. He's a counselor at SCC, and today, as I drop off Jack, Ryan, Chris and Bobby, my oldest boy will climb in my car and we'll drive to Pittsburgh International Airport. There's a flight to catch. Clemson University to see. Orientation, laptop training, course selection. We'll have a little more than 48 hours together. Just him and me. Time to open up my loaf of bread and take out another slice....
So, wherever your road is taking you, I wish you safe travels. May you get where you're supposed to be going, pleased with the destination. It may take some getting used to, as Joe and I know far too well about our upcoming two weeks of quiet. But if you keep your eyes open and your eyes focused on what's around the next bend, there's a good chance that where you've been will become another page of that mental photo album that reminds us of how incredibly blessed we really are.