When I left for Rhode Island earlier this afternoon around 4:30, it was with a very chatty 14-year old in the passenger seat. A 14-year old who talked non-stop for the entire 49.56 mile trip. Adding to the noise was the CD player and the Korn CD that she had chosen for background music.
When I drove back from Rhode Island a little after 7:00 p.m., it was in silence. No chatty 14-year old, no rock music, nothing except the sounds of the road and the thoughts in my head. Thoughts that just can never seem to wrap themselves around the concept of putting my youngest child on a plane and sending her to live somewhere else.
Every time I go through this I think that I've gotten used to it; that I'm not going to get a lump in my throat while the plane backs away from its gate, that I'll be able to keep my composure while I walk back down the concourse by myself; that I'm not going to cry while I drive home from the airport; that I'm tougher than that.
I'm not used to it; I do get a lump in my throat; I barely keep my composure; the tears do come; I'm not tougher than that.
As I write this I'm sitting at the computer in the dining room in a totally quiet house and listening to the refrigerator running in the kitchen and the dryer tumbling away in the basement below me because it's so quiet.
It's quiet because for the first time in quite some time, there is no one in the house but me. Amanda is staying over at Cate's house having opted not to make the trip to the airport with us and Jamie is probably somewhere over North Carolina on her way back to Tampa.
It's too quiet. And even though I am a person who relishes her quiet time, who enjoys having the house to herself on occasion, tonight it is too quiet.
Except for my thoughts. Which are too loud.