Ian spent Saturday getting ready for his flight to Barcelona.  He hung out on the porch with Chris and me for a while.  During an important lecture on avoiding pickpockets, he wandered a few steps away, tuning us out, focusing elsewhere, which was irritating. It turns out he had seen a cat run under the porch.  Putting the best possible spin on this, we decided it was good he could catch quick movements out of the corner of his eye!  A handy skill in a crowded marketplace!    On Ian’s final day at home, we were devoted entirely to being supportive.

Chris gave Ian the St. Christopher medal he had worn during his summer in Europe in 1986.  It is on a gold chain that originally belonged to a pickpocket in Barcelona, until in 1987, Chris caught him in the act of trying to steal the camera bag from under the bench we honeymooners were sitting on.  My new husband – my hero! -  grabbed the thief by the scruff of the neck, punched him squarely in the nose, and got possession of the guy’s chain.  And now the chain is around Ian’s neck, returning to Spain, going full circle.  I hope that’s good karma.

All of us went to the airport together.  Hugh and Malcolm bickered over who would get to move into Ian’s room.  Hugh has never had a room to himself, and Malcolm only for his first year of life.  It was decided that Malcolm would take over Ian’s room, and when the biggest brother returns, he can move into the guest room.   Then they will all have a room of their own.  (Until guests come, in which case, Ian takes the couch).

Ian was dressed very nattily for the flight.

Our #1 son was really very calm and collected.  He’ll be studying art and Spanish for one month at a program in Barcelona, then spend a few days wandering Spain on his own.  From there he’ll fly to Sweden to stay with Chris’s fabulous college friend Rob and his amazing Swedish wife Anki and their two daughters, with a side trip to Estonia.  Then Scotland, then England (where he’ll stay with Chris’s close college friend Todd and his superb wife Suzanne and their children), finishing in Ireland.  Home by mid-December.

Ian has a new backpack, thanks to my brilliant college friend Beth, who had a fantastic, practically new Timberland luggage piece with a zip-off daypack that had been collecting dust in her closet for a while.  She was going to get rid of it, and now it’s got a new lease on life.  Are you seeing a theme here?  ALL FRIENDS ARE MANNA FROM HEAVEN – but in this particular case, a big shout-out of gratitude to these college friends.

Efforts to edit out my muffin-top in that photo above failed.

Speaking of bad looks, here’s what greeted us when we walked Ian to security.

Yes, that is a shaved head, ending abruptly in a thick pelt of neck fur.  A nape beard.  It would show up better if the shirt happened to be white, but I think you can tell.   We were all morbidly fascinated.  Malcolm took this photo and sent it to Fail Blog but even if it doesn’t make it on there, I’m counting on you readers of MOB to “appreciate” it.

We hugged Ian across the security ropes, and walked away looking back and waving.  He was texting and didn’t glance up.  I think that means he’ll be fine.

So anyway, now we are four.  At least for the next 8 weeks or so.

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