Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, August 20, 2018

End of Summer

My custody agreement is a strange one, I'll admit.  Kids with me in the summer; kids with Kirk during the school year.  It was designed to minimize the impact to the kids' way of life, and having lived it for a full year now, I think we chose wisely.

That said, it is the last day of summer, and I'm packing up the kids to send them back to Dad's.  

We took advantage of an evening when Adam had plans to treat Alex and Dylan to their Sugarhouse favorite: Dough Co.  A nice long walk up to the cookie dough store, a warm evening on a sidewalk bench, and chatty walk back home helped me tie up a great summer with the two little kids who seem to have thoroughly enjoyed their summer.

It's been harder on Adam, though, to be away from his friends.  His neighborhood.  His dad.  I've spend a lot of the summer as chauffeur, driving him to the many places he'd rather (or just plain had to) be.  Lagoon.  Bryce's.  Work.  I haven't regretted a single mile, because the secret to getting to know Adam is simple.  Spend time with him and let him talk.  The cumulative hours in the car have made up for all the time he wasn't around.

Still, I wanted to do something special for him to end the summer, too.  His unrivaled love of Top Ramen inspired us to take him to try the real deal.  And when Jinya Ramen Bar opened a new location just around the corner, David and I wanted to show Adam a corner of Sugarhouse that he just might miss.

The evening plays out like an old film real in my mind.  He's in black joggers and a white t-shirt - a huge break from his standard BYU sweats and a dark grey t-shirt.  He's skateboarding in front of us, and somehow through the back of his ball cap, I can see his smile.  He's loud, and he's laughing, and he looks back at us to make sure he's the center of attention.  He is.

He looks so grown up sitting at the table next to me and across from David.  He's 5'9" now, so I have to look up to look him in the eye.  He doesn't stop talking the whole meal.  About the food.  About a possible trip someday to Japan.  About anything that pops into his mind, because that is Adam.

The waiter comes and offers him more noodles.  "Wait, that's a thing?" he says, wide eyed and not quite willing to accept his good fortune.  He decides that ramen really is the best food ever and starts chatting about next summer when Bryce stays over, he'll have him bring some money, and they'll walk over and get ramen and...

...he's skated too far ahead of us for me to hear his words anymore.  We keep a leisurely pace, walking hand-in-hand and discussing the man-child whose larger-than-life presence has filled our home all summer.  We reach the front porch and hear a Smash Mouth melody being plunked out one note at a time at the piano.  We pause on the porch, knowing that if he is aware of an audience, he will stop.  With no warning, the teenage tornado abandons the piano and continues its path to the basement.