“Bye Aiden,” I call as Aiden rushes out the door. I slowly follow him to the front door and wave to Amy and Dave, Gordy’s parents, who are sitting in her SUV. I can’t see Gordy since he is sitting in the back seat, but I can imagine how happy he is. After all, Aiden and Gordy are going to be together all weekend. It has become a tradition for the boys to go camping with Amy and Dave one weekend towards the end of summer. And it’s one that Aiden always looks forward to, especially now that he is two weeks away from high school. He hasn’t mentioned it, but I know he’s a little nervous to start high school. I just hope that Gordy puts some of those fears to rest.
When the SUV is safely out of the driveway and heading off to the camp site, I turn and walk back to the kitchen. I was working on dinner when Aiden left and I need to continue if Steve and I want to eat tonight.
I am almost done when I realize how quiet the house is. Aiden has only been gone for a half an hour and yet it already feels like something is missing. Of course, there is, but it feels wrong now.
With a start, I realize that in a few years, it will be like this all the time. In four years, I will be helping to get Aiden ready for college, not just a camping trip. A knot settles in my stomach. I don’t want to let my baby go. It feels like just yesterday when he was put in my arms for the first time.
“Honey, I’m home.”
I look up as Steve walks in the kitchen. He comes over and gives me a hug and a kiss before slowly pulling back.
“What’s wrong,” he asks, concern thick in his voice.
I shake my head to try and clear out the bad thoughts, afraid I will lose it if I open my mouth.
“Aiden left,” I say simply.
“Well, you knew that,” Steve says, clearly not understanding where this is going. “So what is it really?”
“I don’t know. I guess it just hit me that we only have a few years left with Aiden before he’s all grown up.”
“Hey,” Steve says, taking me into another hug. “It’s okay. We still have four years left. And even when he does go away, it’s not like he’s going to disappear out of our lives.”
“I know. I’m just being all depressed.”
Steve kisses my cheek.
“Have you ever thought about adopting another child?”
Steve releases me and gently turns me around. “No,” he says gently. “Have you?”
“A little bit.”
“Joey. I know Aiden growing up has been hard on you. But another child isn’t going to solve that. I mean, are we just going to keep having kids until we die so we always have a little one?”
“No,” I say, despondently, knowing that’s exactly what I want.
“Getting another baby won’t solve anything. You just need to cherish the time we have with Aiden while he’s still at home and think about the benefits we will have when he’s gone.”
My mouth drops open in shock. “How can you say there will be benefits to losing our son?”
Steve leans in and gently whispers in my ear. “More alone time.”
I gulp as arousal shoots through me. We share one look before Steve grabs my hand and leads me to the stairs, ready to take me to the bedroom. As we run up the stairs, all I can think is that maybe there would be one perk to Aiden growing up. It’s only one, but it may just be enough to get me through the next forty years of my life.
And there’s Part 32. I hope everyone liked it. Next week Steve takes Aiden on his first driving trip. I hope to see everyone then.