August 23, 2008
Captive on the carousel of time
When the gang here is jamming, with someone at the drums, someone on the keyboard, and more guitars out than I can count, the vocalist at the microphone is most often Older Neighbor Boy. He sings dramatically, who moving his whole body with the lyrics. "Oh, 4, 5, 6, come on and get your kicks." He throws himself, quite literally, into anything he does, whether it's music or biking or snowboarding. He gets injured a lot, but heals quickly. He's a young man now, but we've known him since he was a little kid. In fact, nine years ago, we moved in with his family for the summer, living in the upstairs of their house while our own home was being built.
Older Neighbor Boy and Boy in Black have snowboarded together every Sunday for the last eight winters. I'll watch them from the chairlift. They are easy to spot because they are always together, usually moving faster than anyone else on the black diamond slopes. At the end of a day of snowboarding, after we've packed up our stuff, we are always waiting impatiently for those two. They always go to take the last run together just as the lifts were closing.
Older Neighbor has always been willing to help out with any kind of work that needs to be done. He'll jump up to help unload the car if I came home with groceries, or coming up to camp with us to help work on the dock. He even volunteeers to eat leftovers that no one else will eat. One year when a late afternoon class schedule meant I wouldn't be home when With-a-Why got off the bus, Older Neighbor Boy rode his bike home from his high school every Tuesday and Thursday to get to my house in time so that my youngest wouldn't have to come home to an empty house.
We're going to miss him. He's gone off to college, hours away in another state, which means we won't see him again until the holidays. We had a candle ceremony for him before he left, all of us jammed into the living room, kids piled on the couch, the comfy chair, and the hearth of the fireplace, everyone joking and telling stories, beeswax dripping onto the furniture and carpet in the darkness.
Semesters are short, I know, and he'll be back here before we know it, but still, it's another change from for the household. And the changes just keep happening. Boy in Black and First Extra are moving into their campus apartment to begin their junior year. Pirate Boy leaves for college next week. And we've got four — Shaggy Hair Boy, Blonde Niece, Skater Boy, and Quick — who are seniors in high school this year, their last year at home. The kids in the household just keep growing up.
Posted by jo(e)