The Long Goodbye: The Last Year at Home
“Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead. It’s time to get ready for school. You don’t want to be late.” My mom used to coo this to me every morning and I, begrudgingly, would drag my younger self out of bed and zombie walk into the kitchen. My nose propelling me forward to the smell of buttered toast and eggs.
Those were the years, when everything was done and waiting for me. A peck on the cheek, a hug, a wave, a “Have a nice day at school!” called from behind. And my younger self, walking across the street to school, not realizing that these moments that seemed to never end would eventually come to a halting stop.
My mom doesn’t wake me up in the morning, my obnoxious ringing alarm clock does. My school supplies are still where I left them, spread about the dinning room table and floor. My stomach rumbles for food, but I woke up late and don’t have time to grab a breakfast bar. My dad is waiting by the front door, impatiently playing with his phone while I run around the house grabbing last minute items.
By the time I get to school I am already frazzled. This never happened when I was in elementary school I’d think to myself. When I think this I become jealous of that younger me. The me that was never late because everything was done when I woke up. All I had to do was dress, eat, and leave. By being consumed of jealousy, for about 10 minutes, I forget to appreciate that care and love of those memories. Those nostalgic, buttered memories.
My elementary school mornings will never happen again, well, until I’m in an old folks home. But until then, it will never happen. I thought about this: my hand came to my chin, my eyes focused on something, that was really nothing, my eyebrows squeezed closer together and I said, “I’m a senior in high school. This is my last year home.” And that’s when it hit me.
I AM a senior in high school. Next fall I’ll be living in some dorm with strangers in an even stranger city. My parents will be a phone call away instead of a room away. This year will be the last year that everything I’ve done with my family will end.
Gone. Over. Finito.
It was recently my 17th birthday and my mom said to me, “This will be the last birthday we celebrate with you.” Not really, but to her me being in college for the next four years means contact does not exist. But she was right. Every event we have had each year will not include me in the following years. Some, but not all. Gift-giving holidays will definitely happen though.
Each first weekend of October we go to the Glass Pumpkin Patch. We have been going for 10 years. 10 years! Where has the time gone? I won’t be going next year. When we moved to Redwood City in 1996, we ate at a Japanese restaurant. We’ve been eating at Higuma almost every week for 17 years. I will not be eating there for a long while.
I will not be here when my brother has his first girlfriend, or when my mom finally loses it and gets rid of the dog. I will not be here to watch my brother drive and make fun of him when he crashes the car. I’ll miss my brother’s years at Woodside. I will not be here for Halloween, Passover, Hanukkah, Christmas, or St. Patrick’s Day. Well, maybe some of those holidays, but not all!
I hear ya, I hear ya. You get that I’m going to miss out on everything. You want me to get to the point. Here it is: I shouldn’t be focusing on the things I won’t do, but remembering what I have done and making the best of the things I will do. My family isn’t moving to some far off place, and in reality, I probably won’t either. I need to make this year the most memorable of all.
Other stories in Columns
- Are You Ready to Live a Vegetarian Lifestyle? - April 26, 2012
- Tricks of the Trade: Senioritis - April 23, 2012
- Hanging in the Balance: The Struggle in the High School Years - March 12, 2012
- America's Secret War - March 9, 2012
- For a Better Build, Play in Water - March 8, 2012