I took Dylan back to college yesterday. It ended up being an extremely long day.
It took more than double the time it usually takes just to get to Waco, which is about the halfway point. I will try to remember for the future that traffic is extremely heavy on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. There were just a lot of cars on the road, though fortunately few accidents. I am very grateful to have made the trip there and back safely.
On the way there, Dyl and I had lots of time to talk, most of it not about anything too serious. But he’s getting really into having tattoos and piercings, the only one of my kids to take after me in that regard. I now have 12 (?) tattoos and I’ve had my nose pierced and my traguses pierced since he was a baby.
He’s discovered that tattoos and piercings are pretty allowable as an engineer, so he’s moving full speed ahead.
The next tattoo he wants to get sometime during his winter break is one of a sakura (cherry blossom) and a lilac leaning against each other. That’s really meaningful to both him and me because it’s supposed to symbolize me and J.
I got the large tattoo on my arm of a cat sitting under a sakura tree, in part to memorialize my late cat Cammy as well as J. Everywhere I go, people comment favorably on it—I’ve even had more than one random cashier ask to take a picture of it.
Sakura blossoms symbolize the fleeting nature of life. We’ve all just kinda decided that’s a good representation of J, especially because sakura blossoms are very big in Japan and he loves Japanese culture a lot.
Dylan asked what my favorite flower was and I told him it was the lilac. They don’t grow down here—it’s too hot and they’re too fragile—but they were one of the things I loved in Michigan.
The fact that Dyl’s next tattoo is going to be of a sakura blossom and a lilac branch leaning on each other, which is just so beautiful and it makes me cry even to write about it.
We did talk about the fact that it doesn’t look as likely that J will make it to Dylan’s college graduation, at least based on how things look now. But that made us both feel really sad so we didn’t focus on it for too long.
Overall, it was kind of a melancholy day. We even listened to a song that’s been a favorite of his since he was in elementary school called “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz.
We also listened to The 1975 a lot, which I think I may be responsible for him liking them, just by exposing him to it so much. We talked about concerts, both upcoming and hoped-for. He still wants to be my concert buddy. But we did also mention that concerts may not come back in time for J to go with me because of Covid and how weak his immune system is.
I just felt really sad overall on my way home, so I put on some Counting Crows, which I hadn’t listened to in years. It suited my mood pretty well.
I was lucky in that I got to see J very briefly before he went to bed. It was really nice not to come home to an empty house.
At the same time, though, I feel like maybe those days are coming closer when I will. And I really don’t know how to deal with that. I just hope I can still help Dylan as much as I have been with getting through college. He has really adjusted to college and said that he looked forward to getting back there today (which was a big contrast to the last time he came home.)
He likes the traditions on his campus. He’s very proud to be an “Aggie” and generally loves “Aggieland” (all the areas around campus.) He knows that an engineering degree from there will open doors for him and set him up with a very good career.
I feel pretty secure in my parenting; all the kids gave me reasons to be over Thanksgiving. They all mentioned the fact that they looked forward to coming home and that it was in contrast to friends who felt differently.
I just wish I wasn’t facing a future of doing it alone.