Perhaps it is a Papa Bear thing, but I am just not that upset Junior was gone for three months, back for a few days and now gone again for another three months. I have heard it called the Papa Bear syndrome because a male bear will drive his own young out of his territory, while the Mama Bear is a little more willing to keep them around. Junior is spending six months on the road with a youth organization.
Four of those months will be spent in the U.S., before he and his classmates head off to Scotland, Ireland and Britain for six weeks. It is then back to Boston for a graduation ceremony before coming home to resume his role of annoying his siblings and eating everything in the house.
I did not exactly force Junior out of the house, and I admit there was a twinge of sadness when Scooter first boarded the plane back in January, but not nearly as much as what my wife, the Mama Bear, experienced.
As Junior was passing through security to enter the big bird that will take him on a big adventure, I could see a glistening in my wife’s eyes.
She had a far off look as if she was scanning the past 18 years of his life - remembering the squeaky little bundle we brought home that summers day long ago, his first day of school, the time he set the kitchen on fire, aaaah the memories.
I had a far off look as well.
My mind was also focusing on the situation, but Papa Bear was looking at things from a different angle. It was more along the lines of, “How in the hell am I going to pay for this?”
If there was a tear, it was shed for the fact I would not be getting a new-to-me motorcycle this year as any and all spare cash (as if there really is such a thing) was being used to send Junior on the biggest adventure of his young life.
But it’s all good. I can live without getting a new bike. I will just keep riding the one I have, no problem. And we don’t need to eat food every day. Skipping a meal once in a while is probably good for you. It is a sacrifice to send Junior away, but it is well worth it for such an amazing experience.
Anyway, back to the waiting area of the airport where the wife was missing her little boy and I was mourning the loss of a new motorcycle.
We watched as he entered the boarding area and then he was gone and it would be 12 weeks before we see him again…I mean except for emails, and Face Book and Skype and…
But still, he was not on my couch and he was several thousand kilometers away so there was separation. Fast forward to Easter weekend and I am back standing in the waiting area of an airport, but this time it is to pick Junior up for a few days at home before he jumps the pond and experiences the UK. When Junior and I saw each other, there were smiles all around and an awkward semi-hug thing between us.
You know, the kind of hug two men give each other when they want to show some affection, but are not real comfortable in expressing it.
It was more of a shoulder slap/lean towards each other thing than anything else, but we each knew what the other meant and were appreciative of it. Of course his mom gave him a big Mama Bear hug as did his little sister.
His little brother gave him a punch in the shoulder, which was promptly returned as a sign of brotherly love. All too fast the visit was over and Junior was once again boarding a plane. So now it will be three more months before he is back on the couch and raiding the fridge. T
he Mama Bear is sad, of course, as is Little Sister Bear. Little Brother Bear is taking it in stride as is the big, ol’ Papa Bear.
But the saddest of them all is Little Dog Bear, who simply can not understand where his favourite person keeps disappearing too.