In the quick moments we had with my uncle and cousin after our Hawaii trip (they came through from Ontario and stopped for a visit on their way to Vancouver), Steve helped pack W up again for her trip to International Music Camp in the Peace Gardens. IMC was W’s first time at a co-ed camp with kids ranging from middle school to high school. She wanted to go last year, but I was a little nervous. This year I felt more comfortable about it.
My Uncle and cousin were out the door at 7am Sunday, and our friends the Wagners graciously picked up W at 8:30 and drove W the 4 hours northwest to camp. We made sure W purchased a calling card and I made her promise to call every day–which she did. W has left us a few other times to attend church camp for a few days but for some reason this time, we really, really missed her. Maybe it was because we still hadn’t recovered fully from the Hawaii trip. Maybe with the whirlwind with family in town, I didn’t mentally prepare as much for her being gone for a week. This time I felt like I got a little glimpse of what life will be like when it’s different from the way it is now and I got a little heartsick.
In 4 years, W will be off to college. I know nothing in life is guaranteed, but if things stay on the course they’re on right now, that’s what’s going to happen. W wants to attend BYU–where both Steve and I got our undergraduate degrees–which means that she will be moving out of state and far away from us. I don’t know where J will be in 4 years. There’s a good chance that he’ll be hanging out with us a little longer after high school. Life in 4 years will probably look like it did this week. Just the three of us: Steve, me, and J.
I remember my first year of university. I remember calling my parents, missing them especially during that first semester. Over the years I would call them still, but mostly when I was lonely or had a problem, or needed something from them. And then somewhere along that way I became my own person and had my own life. And I know, most likely, that will be W’s journey too.
I’m trying my best to live right now in this moment right now, when we’re still a family of four. But this week, I was really aware of the space W fills in our family and the emptiness when she’s not here. W is such a big part of J’s life. A BIG part of J’s life. J repeated throughout the week, as he sat on the couch by himself or at the dinner table, “I really miss W.” They are best friends, after all. One day she will move on with her life in ways that J won’t and that divergence makes me a little sad to think about. That’s why I try not to think about it too much.
But for now, W is back, we are a family of four again, and all is right again in the world.