Tuesday, January 10, 2012
All My Bags are Packed
Anticipating the needs of a group of people with disparate needs is an An art, not a Science. Since my children were little, I found there were patterns to packing for outings. Picnics, beach days, Vineyard trips....I knew which bags to use, how many, what kind, which ones, of everything a family of five might need for an hour, a day, or several weeks. As the children started to grow up, all of those evenings of packing school books, laying out clothes, all those overnights at friends’ houses and responsibility for packing their own activity bags for road trips gave them invaluable skills. I watch with wonder as my two college-aged daughters translocate from city apartments to country dwelling to international destinations. They do so with little more than brief conversations with me. My high-school son, whom I believed would need me to remind him to take his backpack to school until twelfth grade, has moved into independence suddenly, precipitously. Three years ago, I was still reminding him to bring his athletic-wear to school along with his books. Now he manages everything related to school plus all the paraphernalia of film-making. As time has gone by, I have seen how the packing of food, linens, beach toys, and summer clothes for Martha’s Vineyard and other venues has given way to packing my own rolling suitcase and my computer for a weekend or two weeks...anywhere. The scale has changed. Less to plan, less to carry. I am able to spend more time anticipating what my own needs might be when mine are the only needs to be met. While I am glad that I am able to pack my own bags, it is with a pang, a bittersweet pang of regret mingled with freedom. It is yet another of the simple gauges I have come to use to measure the passage of time.