This has been a strange week.
I could leave it at that but I figured some explanation might be nice.
I spent the first part of the week (April school vacation for those of you in Massachusetts) running around with Noah, doing last-minute errands. And then the packing began……His room looked like a tornado hit it: piles of clothing were everywhere, along with school books, shoes, and miscellaneous items. It was my way of making order out of disorder. I had to-do lists scattered in different places, among them in my head. Here’s how my train of thinking worked: I would remember something we needed to do and, lest I forget, I would run out to do it. One day I went out to pick up things I might otherwise forget. I got back to the house and went up to Noah’s room to work on my massive organization project. While up in Noah’s room, Ethan hollered up, “Mom, you might want to see this!” Walking downstairs, I see Ethan holding up a half-eaten tap shoe. Yup, the dog, Phoebe, pushed open the door to Noah’s room while I was out and while Noah was at his grandmother’s. Phoebe took the delicious and expensive leather shoe and went to town.
Granted, Phoebe is a dog and dogs love chewing on leather. But Noah often leaves his dance shoes on his floor with the door open. Phoebe has never taken a tap shoe. Ever…until now. Not the dog’s fault. Not anybody’s fault, really. Just one more thing to add onto the list: buy new tap shoes. And so it was with my week. Little things like that kept coming up. Even slightly bigger things like the sharp corner of the front door slamming into the back of my heel, creating a quarter-inch gash. I sort of shrugged it off — too much to do on this day. But it wouldn’t stop bleeding. I could’ve used a couple of stitches to close up the wound but instead, I bandaged it up and hopped into CVS to buy the best wound closure strips they had and the best bandages $25 could buy. It was makeshift but it worked. Trip to the ER averted.
And so it went…but I kept on packing. We managed to whittle Noah’s life down into one suitcase weighing 46 pounds (could not go over 50), one backpack, and one small carry-on duffel bag. On Friday, Noah left with his dad for Los Angeles, where he would begin his training for Billy Elliot at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. I spent a lot of Friday walking up and down our upstairs hallway, peeking into Noah’s empty and spotless room.
No clothes strewn all over the floor, no books piled up on the dresser, no backpack dumped out all over the bed. No half-eaten tap shoe on the floor. It was a strange day and everyone in my family felt it.
We settled into the weekend. My husband Joel and I ran errands and I began the process of getting myself ready to join Noah in L.A. next week. Ethan had a gaggle of friends over Saturday night and we sat around a bonfire, making s’mores. Joel and I flipped on the TV and what was on: a 20/20 special report on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. A bit strange as Noah is now there. Among the heart-wrenching tales of the homeless and drug addicts living along the Sunset Strip, we also watched tales of students at Hollywood High who move to Hollywood with their entire families because their talented kids dream of making it in showbiz, particularly musical theater. And here we were, roasting marshmallows in the utopia of our beautiful backyard as my son is about to live his dream in dance and theater at the age of 12, almost 13. How fitting that this television program is on now…But I’m not surprised. The universe has its own special way of reminding us how lucky we are and how grateful we should always be of the gifts all around us.
On this rainy Sunday — as I type away — I am reminded, yet again, of how lucky I am, how fortunate my entire family is. This year will not be “normal” for us in any sense of the word. We will spend weeks, even months away from each other. It will be hard. It will be emotional. Noah’s room will be empty for a long time. But it will also be special. It will be incredible. It will be memorable.
It will be life-changing. And the dog will have to find something else to chew on. At least for now.