I dropped the boys off at the airport. Litigator will return to Rhode Island, and Stonemason back to the North Country.
It's such an adjustment to relate to them as young adults rather than teens. We put away all the liquor, since Litigator has been through rehab and we saw no reason to leave temptation in plain sight. He mentioned nothing, a change from the last time we had an argument about it. He seems more focused on school and the future than he has in the past. We had some good conversations, and he seemed to genuinely appreciate his time with PH and me. Stonemason seems much more mature as well; he's working as a cook and enjoying it a lot. My boy who couldn't make himself an egg two years ago makes pizza, pasta and soup at an Italian restaurant. His sweetness is back. He also seems to have a much more realistic view of the world since being on his own. He's enjoying the restaurant work and lots of snowboarding in winter, and is looking forward to working as a stonemason again in the spring.
StrongOpinions made me the loveliest little collage of photos of herself and her brothers as children. I nearly cried. She has a tender heart, for all her strong facade. She still struggles for a place in her relationship with her brothers; she wants to be treated as an equal, but they're not there yet.
I love them to pieces, but I am enjoying the quiet again. I'll clean their rooms, and strip their beds, and wash their towels, in anticipation of their next visit. The little rituals that keep us looking forward...