The Real Goodbye

Last night (since it's now technically Saturday), at about 6 p.m., Jaden and I said our real goodbye to the house.

I had to drop off the appliance manuals and bring in the garbage cans. It was very hard on Jaden. He was upset because he wanted to hang out with Ron and he realized the impact of moving. So he ran inside to his room and I heard the door slam shut.

I found him sobbing in his closet, where his dresser used to be. It was the only part of the room that offered a hiding place. I went in and he totally broke down. I held him tight.

After a bit, I asked him what he was going to miss the most from our house. He ran up to the wall and said, "Uncle Roger's tree."

And then I witnessed his beautiful little heart break into pieces.

I thought it might seem cruel to photograph him in such pain but in a way, it had its own beauty and I wanted to remember it forever for some reason. And in so doing, it struck me that our little digital camera might offer my son a different kind of way to say goodbye to his home. He loves to take pictures and it's a big treat when he asks and I say yes.

I offered it to him and he gobbled it up. He took photos of his room and the bathroom at every conceivable angle. Finally I had to nudge him to move down the hallway. He gave me back the camera, paused at the water heater and said through more tears, "I am hugging my whole house now."

And slowly but surely we made it to the front of the house. There we sat against the wall, holding on to each other and crying our eyes out. Only my maternal instincts kept me from totally breaking down -- I wanted to be strong for him. Then he asked me to take one last picture of us together in our house. So I did my best.