I am writing this at 3pm; the guys will be at the Balclutha by now.
They were cautiously excited when they left home this morning and completed their chores pretty much without fuss.
Their major concern was to tell me that their already-huge lunch should be even huger because they would be going for five hours without a snack.
Such is the context of terror in a ten-year-old.
I, on the other hand, had been up at 4am.
I woke with a fist tightly clenched and shoulders even more so.
At this point of the afternoon, I would normally be charging my white mini-van towards school, steeling myself for the uncontrolled energy that often confronts me when class gets out.
After a quiet morning at home, it sometimes feels like an assault but today the house is silent and I know that around 5pm, based on previous experience, it will become too silent, too still, too empty.
The evening hours will loom like a thunderous cloud and I will go to bed just to avoid the atmospheric pressure.
During these hours, I will wonder what they are up to.
Are they getting along with their fellow lads? Are they getting along with each other?
I will check the Weather Channel and wonder if they are cold.
I will look at the time and wonder if they are hungry.
And then just to make myself really miserable I will think ahead to the time when they leave home. For good.
Although I have two children, because they are twins, in some ways, I have one opportunity, one chance, one experience.
Milestones happen at roughly the same time.
When things happen they happen all at once. No time to reflect, take a breath, regroup and do better next time. Double the trouble, twice the love.
An intense and often extreme experience.
Often this is overwhelming. I remember going into their rooms when they were babies to watch them sleeping and having to walk out after a minute or so.
I found it overwhelming that I had not one but two of these gorgeous, complicated creatures.
I just couldn’t stand it.
Terrible twos, sassy sixes and naughty nines have come and gone since then, always, always with a color that a great painter would be hard pressed to achieve.
These kids don’t come in pastel.
Many times I’ve told myself, as I’ve been driven to being a person I don’t recognize, that I will miss all this chaos and arguing one day, and then promptly told myself not to be so silly; that I will revel in the quiet, peace and tranquility of a day when I know what will happen and it will unfold exactly as planned.
And I’m sure both of those things will be true.
For every loss, there is a gain. For every ebb, a flow.
But for now, I will sit at my desk with my cup of tea, tapping away on my lovely, brand-new, slimline laptop with my eye firmly on the weather and my mind in San Francisco waiting for 10am tomorrow to come around just as soon as it can.
Read about the changes in the boys on their return in part three.
Have you ever been left, bereft on an overnight fieldtrip? How did you cope? Let me know in the comments!
If you appreciated this article, please do me a favor and share on Facebook or Twitter. There are buttons at the top and bottom of this article.
And also why not ‘like’ the TSLWW Facebook Fan page? You can find the box in the sidebar. Thank you!