July and August seem like they should be slow months. Charleston is notorious for the way everything come to a creeping crawl in the summer. Languid days filled with the slap, slap of mosquitoes, the cold slice of a tomato, the creak of the tree swing. But for many reasons, this summer is moving much too fast.

In 10 days, Dowell goes to college. Tasha has created a list – The List – as a Google doc so that the entire clan can go online and add things like staples, paper towels, socks, and hand soap. I wake up in the middle of the night and think, a flashlight, a plastic spoon! The List makes it look as if we are abandoning him in a room where he must survive  for the next 4 years using only those items.

But it’s also our way of moving a piece of us with him. We hope he’ll sense us every time he uses his calculator, his spoon, his paper towels. And if not? If he gets caught up in his busy life of being a Clemson freshmen and only thinks of us when his debit card runs low or he wants homemade cookies mailed? Well then, I just remembered another item for the list: family photos! 

We’re gonna miss him.