Meanwhile, my own nest will soon be temporarily full again. Son Number One flies home this Saturday from a summer internship in Washington, D.C. and will be in residence for a couple of weeks before heading back to his last year in college. Son Number Two has been home since May and has been working at my place of employment since June, so we commute together. OK, sometimes he sleeps going in or out of town, but often we chat about whatever is on his mind, or he'll run lines with me to help me memorize my script for the play I'm in. It's been a joy to breathe the same air for the whole summer. I'd forgotten how much fun he is. I'll have him until just before Labor Day. My mother used to call this "having all her chicken's in one roost" and it was her greatest joy. I didn't understand what the big deal was back then. I do now.
They'll both be back to school soon and the house will be quiet again. And that's OK. I'm getting better at letting the birds leave the nest. I understand that it's their turn to fly and that soon they won't be coming "home" because they'll be making nests of their own. To my complete astonishment I'm finding that my claws are retractable after all. Not only do I not have to hang on for dear life, I don't really want to. I'm enjoying watching the process and I am dazed at the talent and resourcefulness they both show. But for the moment I am thoroughly enjoying the prospect of time with my boys. Himself and I will have time for dinners and movies again, instead of playing chauffeur. We'll be back to washing the dishes ourselves and taking out our own trash, and we're quite capable of doing all that and more. But just as the quiet mornings make me sad once the birds leave, the quiet house will be bittersweet. Silence can be good, too. And, as for the birds and the boys, as a very smart friend once told me every time I wept at his departure, "How can I come back if I don't leave?" and that was and will always be cause for celebration.