Zac doesn't live in our house anymore.
He's moved out. Gone. Shoved every belonging he had in a box or a bag and hit the road.
Of course, that road was a short one. He only moved to my office behind the house. And as it's a mere twenty feet away, I haven't yet shed a tear.
But still, I'm sad. My son is seventeen, and salivating for independence. For now, he's satisfied to have a room apart from the house. He loves the cedar-lined ceiling of my former retreat space. He likes the light I picked out at Ikea--the one I used to have angled down at my writing desk. He's okay with the expanse of hunter green wall paper along the tops of the walls and the coordinating green and burgandy plaid along the bottoms. He's even promised to not poke pinholes through the wall paper.
But even that promise makes me sad. It implies that one day -- probably long before I'm ready for it -- he'll repack all those posters, trophies, tennis shoes and basketball paraphernalia and vacate this space again. I'll come into an empty room and stare at my pristine, pinhole-less wall paper and wish he'd left a mark.
Yesterday, when he was off at basketball camp and I had the whole 13 acres of property to myself, I went out to his new room and sat on the edge of his bed. I absorbed the smell that only a seventeen-year old boy could imbue into the fibers of a place (and, remarkably, in less than 24 hours), and then, because I wanted to know what it was like for him to sleep in his new room, I curled up on his bed. And the feeling that came over me as I settled against his comforter was one of complete, utter peace. The tension I'd been carrying slipped away. I felt my face relax, the frown and furrows gone. Outside his window, beyond the burgandy curtains I hung last year when the place was mine, the green leaves of a distant maple splayed against a vivid blue sky. I laid for a long time watching those leaves and letting the silence surround and soothe me.
They can't stay little forever. Eventually, I'll have to let him go. But when that day comes, I'll pray he'll carry a measure of peace with him on his travels. I'll pray, too, that wherever those travels take him, he'll remember this place ... where he's loved and missed.