August has always been a big month for us.
Wife's birthday is on the 7th and our wedding anniversary is on the 11th. For about 23 years, somebody has been getting ready to go back to school at this time of year. For the past ten years that's included -- and is now exclusively -- college.
So celebrating said birthday and anniversary has always been in the midst of getting school supplies and/or clothes together, packing up, moving and transitioning from a more relaxed "summerish" mindset to more of a routine.
This August has been no exception.
Younger Son came home on Wife's birthday, fresh from his summer newspaper job with about a week to spend with us before heading back for his senior year. Moving him was a non-event because he lived in the fraternity house all summer and commuted to his job in a nearby town. He's moving from one room to another but he's able to accomplish all of that without parental assistance.
He and Wife did a little bit of shopping for him while he was home, but overall he's become pretty low-maintenance as far his physical requirements and needs.
While he was home, he was kind enough to help get his sister moved out. She is now a resident of Huntsville, AL, about 100 miles south of us, where she and DSO are teaching in the same school system.
We spent last weekend getting her moved. She's in a great apartment in a great little community, living with a young lady she knew at Auburn.
And I hate to say this out loud but it appears that Wife and I are . . . . empty nesters! That's right, she and I are the sole occupants of this house. We married on August 11, 1984 and Older Son was born January 24, 1986. Do the math and you can figure how long since it's been just the two of us.
It could last less than a year as Younger Son's plans after next May's graduation are as yet unknown. And of course he's always welcome. If we've learned anything, we've learned to be flexible.
And we did manage to celebrate the birthday and anniversary, the anniversary being one of those landmark ones -- our 30th.
On August 1st I told Wife I would be giving her a gift per day until the 11th to commemorate both her birthday and this very significant anniversary. She loved that. They were not all big, by any stretch, but all were fun and for most I wrote her a little note explaining the significance of the particular gift.
I'm not going to go through each one but I'll tell you that the first one was a bottle of perfume, the one she wore when we first started dating and during the early days of our marriage. Whenever I catch that scent, be it ever so slightly, I think of her because that's the smell I remember from when we first met. And I still love that fragrance.
I'm not exactly the best gift-giver in the world (and I'm a terrible gift receiver), so it came as no surprise when she asked where I got this idea (11 gifts in 11 days) -- had I known somebody else who did it or did I do some research for original gift-giving ideas?
Nope, I told her. Thought of it all by myself. There might be hope for me after all.
One friend of hers, after she shared what I had done, pointedly asked if maybe I were having an affair.
I got a good laugh out of that one. I've been too tired for years to even think about any such dalliance.
And of course much more than that, I wouldn't ever even think of it. If she's put up with me for 30 years, I don't think anybody's going anywhere.
Back a few weeks ago Older Son drove here with one of his prized possessions -- his pickup truck, the one he and I went and bought for him after his first year in college. Oh how he loves that truck.
But it is not exactly practical for his current station in life. It drinks gas quite liberally and he drives around Dallas a bit with his job.
So last fall he told me was in the market for a car, but would not be parting with his truck. He asked if he could entrust it to me. He might want it back someday, in fact he probably would.
He came to the right place. I'm loving that truck.
And he might have a hard time getting it back.
Transitions and passages. So much of life is about these things.
As Wife often says, we're in the revolving door years where we can go from a house full of folks to an empty house in a matter of hours.
This afternoon Daughter and DSO will be here to go to an outdoor concert with us tonight. They'll stay the night.
Later a friend from Arkansas and her two daughters will stop in to spend the night on their way to North Carolina for one of the daughters to go to school.
We'll all have a big breakfast together in the morning.
By Monday morning it will be quiet and it will just be the two of us again.
Did I mention we're flexible?