The Last Supper

     Last night we reenacted the last supper at our house.  Oh, not THE LAST SUPPER; I'm talking about that moment when you realize your son is eating with the family for the last time before starting his own family.
    Today Andrew (18) marries.  He hasn't been around for supper much, lately.  He works, visits Kim, occasionally eats here, and sleeps here. Since he is number five, we've seen this pattern before. I guess it's a good thing that he hasn't been around much, because it is helpful in preparing us for the inevitable.  Nevertheless, we were all very much aware last night that this night was going to be our final night as the family we've been experiencing since his sister, Rachel (22), left three years ago.
    I tried a new recipe (nothing to do with his leaving).  It was Italian home fries.  When it was passed to him, he looked at it, smelled it, and started guessing the ingredients.  When he realized there were peppers and onions, he passed.  We also had cranberry sauce (don't know why he didn't have any of that) and olives, which he ate. Olives for supper.  Not unusual, really.  Every evening there are two options:  take it, leave it. Generally, this produces pretty good eaters, but not in Andrew's case.
   He could have easily just skipped the whole event, but he didn't.  We talked as we ate and sat there after everyone was finished and continued to talk and laugh.  This is our pattern.  Reseach shows the importance of this ritual for happy families.  I believe it.
   Tonight he will not return.  We will begin our family of four, the typical American family, but oh so small for us. I won't have to be turning off his bedroom light or the outside light, which he so frequently neglects when he is the last one home.
   I won't be removing belts from jeans or emptying the pockets of change.  I won't have a list of questions I need to ask when he infrequently pops his head in the door.  I won't be giving him the many reminders that he perceives as nagging. Just two girls.
  In a few short years, they will be gone, too.  I'm preparing.  I now have a job I do from home a few hours a week.  It's not much money, but I hope to put it in savings and soon begin counseling courses with
  The future is pregnant with new possibilities.  I am looking forward to it with joyful expectation. But letting go of my baby boy is hard, very hard.


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