Well, I’ve often said I’ve loved the ‘firsts’ as a stepdad. Their first day of school. Their first time on a roller-coaster. Their first crushes. Their first time eating too hot curry.
But today, I have a sad ‘first.’ The-Oldest is leaving to attend UBC. It’ll be his first apartment. His first roommates. His first time away from home.
The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World is a little sad, but she’s mostly excited for him. He’ll learn from the best, laugh and have a drink with students like him who are obsessed with music, and he’ll have a chance to meet so many new people (and by ‘people,’ she means girls.)
The-Youngest said he was super excited to see his brother go. “Now you have more time to spend on me,” and by ‘time,’ he means money. However, I suspect he’s hiding a lot of his feelings (cuz, you know, he’s a teenage boy and they hate to show emotion.)
See, those two have been through a lot together. On the last trip we took, we caught The-Youngest hugging his brother more, talking to him more, and when they slept in the car while we were driving, he’d sleep against his brother.
I think deep down, he’d be writing, “Dear Diary, Today my brother left and I’m sad, but also hungry because Joe forgot to pick up chips, but mostly sad.”
For me, though, I’m profoundly sad. It’s like having your best friend move away.
Who knew it would be me wiping away the tears and not The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World.
Sure, everyone says it’s a good thing, that the nest must be emptied and that I’ll eventually move on to another life. Joe 3.0.
But it has been my great honor and pleasure to have The-Oldest in my life. I’ve worried about him, advised him, talked to him about why the Phantom Menace failed so terribly.
I’ve fed him soup when he was sick, given him a hug when the world had beat him up, and listened to him play for hours, though he never knew I was listening.
Together, we’ve played hours and hours of Minecraft. We’ve gone on epic walks, talking about life, the universe and everything.
He’s listened patiently to me while I explain why Napoleon should be called Napoleon the Great or which are the best swear words to use when putting an Ikea shelf together.
As a family, we’ve ridden Disney rides, sailed on sailboats, solved mysteries in downtown Vancouver, saw the rainbow at Niagara Falls, and watched the sunset on the Grand Canyon.
Whether or not I’ve had any influence in his life, I cannot say, but he has certainly impacted mine.
He’s made me think about music in a different way. I can no longer watch a movie without listening to the music now or listen to Beethoven without his voice echoing in my head. “You hear the comedy there, right?”
And with his kind heart, his gentle nature, he’s taught me to be a better person.
In truth, he’s turned into a fine young man. Talented. Kind. Caring. Deeply thoughtful. I’ve watched him grow up, gain confidence in himself, and even remember to wear matching socks.
He’s made me laugh, many times, but today, I couldn’t find any laughter as I watched him load up the truck and drive off.
There will be a hole in my life.
I love him.
And I will miss him.