a big boy now

Colin had been waiting almost exactly 365 days for yesterday to arrive.

About a year ago, Jack let slip that in August, he’d be going to San Francisco, by himself, to spend a week with my dad, their “Papa.” (And by “let slip” I mean the kid can’t keep a secret to save his life.)

Colin fretted all summer. Why not him? Why Jack? It was so unfair.

Oh, the injustice of being the younger child. It’s something I’ve tried to be more cognizant of as a parent. As the oldest sibling among my brothers and sisters, it seemed perfectly fair that Jack would get his adventure first.

After a painstaking year, during which the question, “when am I going to California?” was posed nearly daily, the big day finally arrived, but was shrouded in a typically klutzy Chelsea maneuver that left my literally seeing stars for the drive from home to Dulles.

He was quiet in the car. Not unusual for the 5:00am hour or for Colin. For a kid that can be really loud, he can also be quiet as a church mouse. (Assuming church mice are quiet. I don’t exactly have field experience there.)

As we approached IAD from the parking lot, Colin wrapped himself around my arm.

“Come with me, mommy.”

“I can’t,” I said reassuringly. “I don’t have any clothes to wear.”

“You can buy new clothes,” he offered, hitting me at my vulnerable point.

“Jack is home waiting for me to return.”

“Daddy can go get him.”

The reasons I should go with him continued as we made our way through security and to the gate. I started to dread boarding. Would he cry? Would be refuse to go?

But when it came time, he gave me a hug, pulled his face into the most serious look I’ve ever seen on the kid, and made his way.

And of course, on the other end I know he’s being spoiled, getting the special one-on-one time he deserves and not having to share this experience with Jack or with me. He will return with fantastic stories and detailed accounts of where he was able to drink Dr. Pepper, which seems to be a big goal of his trip.

But it’s up to Papa to break it to him that the Hollywood sign does not live in the Bay Area, as seeing that iconic landmark is definitely on Colin’s bucket list.

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