Harry’s Here. And Colby’s There! Lucky London!

This is a short story about a big move my son made today. If you have a story that you’d like to share about anyone – or anything – please email it to geri@faboverfifty.com 

I am sad and happy. First, why I’m happy. It’s 6:30 am and I  just left my son Colby at the JFK  Virgin Atlantic terminal for his flight to London, where he’s going to work at his company’s headquarters. He was supposed to go last April – but Covid derailed that opportunity. 

Colby’s work stimulates him, and after 15 months of life on hold, he’s off on a new adventure, professionally and personally. He’s been to London many times (loves it) and knows many of his colleagues across the pond (adores them), which should make the transition  easier.  

“They can’t wait to hear whatever comes out of my mouth,” he chuckled.

All exciting. London. The dynamic company where he works. Learning new disciplines. Making new friends. A new place, absent his mother upstairs. Colby’s looking forward to the experience and I’m thrilled for him. 

Now to my sad side. Although Colby has lived on his own since he graduated from college 20 years ago, he moved into the garden apartment of my house in Brooklyn in 2017. We actually hadn’t lived together full time under the same roof since he started high school, when he lived with his father.

We have separate entrances, so it’s been easy for me to keep out of his way (and hair). Days would come and go without a second of contact between us. 

Confession: Once in a while I’d surreptitiously open my front door late at night and peek to see if the light was on in Colby’s living room.

I loved the small things that came from our physical proximity: Hearing his muffled chatter wafting up through the fireplace. Interacting with him – albeit briefly – when he dashed upstairs to print a document, look for pretzels, tortilla chips or sour cream, and to make espresso.

Knowing he moved the day’s The New York Times from the front yard – where it had been haphazardly tossed – to my front door before he left for work. 

Driving him to the dentist when he didn’t feel like running a few miles, or to an appointment in Manhattan at the last minute. 

Getting his incredibly valuable input on an important proposal I was writing.

Just seeing his face. Laughing at one of his witticisms. 

Hearing him quickly say “love you” as he retreated to his own space, and life.

When Covid came calling, and Colby was remotely working at home full time and isolated from his friends and colleagues, he accepted my offer to make dinner.  He’d occasionally eat upstairs with me and his father (my former husband, who had moved in). But most of the time, I’d put his dinner on a tray, which he’d take to his apartment.

After about a month of hectic ordering online from the supermarket, Colby and I started taking bi-weekly jaunts to Wegmans.  We’d leave at 6:30 am, separately race through the aisles assiduously avoiding other early bird shoppers, and arrive home before 8 am.  And oh, we’d listen to Howard Stern during the 20 minute drives there and back.  

Colby never failed to carry my weighty grocery bags up the front stairs.

During our final Wegmans run last week Colby asked, “How are you going to do Wegmans now?” 

“I’ll be able to handle it. I have strong arms,” I answered.

It’s been wonderful having Colby close by during these last four years, and I’m going to miss him terribly. He thinks he’ll be  in London for about a year, and will probably return periodically to work with the team in the New York office. Plus, Douglas and I plan to visit him.  

I know in my soul that this is the start of a tremendous new life for Colby. While we won’t be thousands of miles away from each other forever, and he’ll likely return home to New York, I  don’t expect we’ll ever live as close to one another. 

I just found this note that Colby left in his refrigerator, along with some food from Wegmans that he hadn’t eaten.

It was heart-wrenching to wave goodbye to eight-year-old Colby in 1987, when he went off to sleepaway camp for the first time. 

I was depressed when I left the campus of the University of Michigan in August 1997, where Colby was starting college.

Apprehensive when he left to live and study in Barcelona during his junior year. 

Now, in 2021, I’m filled with a new kind of overwhelming emotion that instantly brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it’s because I look at life much differently now that I’m in the home stretch.  And there is nothing more valuable than the people you cherish. 

Godspeed, Colby Brin. You are an exceptional young man. 

P.S. Colby works for Wise, “the cheap, fast way to send money abroad.” If you need to send money to anyone in the world, don’t ever use a bank. Wise is a brilliant company. Of course it is! It hired Colby.

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