As an only child, I was always very close with my parents. My mother relied on me solely when she and my father fought. Girl time. Growing up, I always said I'd move next door and live there with her forever and always be her best friend. Now, I live about 10 miles away (if that), but I work full time, pay my own bills, and live with my boyfriend.
Boxes are packed and trucks are loaded. My youngest son is smiling from ear to ear, excitement and eagerness plastered across his mischievous grin as my heart is pulled in two. I've watched all morning as he, his father, brother and friend have made numerous trips up and down the stairs hauling box after box, pieces of furniture and clothes to load.
I realized that these past 24 years raced by at record speed, and well, that can only mean that the next 20+ years will do the same. Right? I've heard that time moves much faster as you age. So, if you're doing the math along with me: when my son has his 44th birthday, I will be nine months away from (oh God, I can't think it!) 74... which is just shy of 75!
What is wrong with me? Most people are changing bedrooms into man caves or celebrating the fact that they were able to raise a human from a baby into adulthood without harming them or losing them for an extended period of time. All I think about is the empty chair at dinner and the gaps in my duckling lineup.
What do you mean you mailed a college application? Get back down on the floor and play with some Legos. Do you want me to make you a sandwich? Or, you can invite your friends over and we'll order pizzas. You can stay up all night, if you want. I'll just go cry in my room, but don't let that bother you.
Family unity and healthy interactions, who could possibly be against that? Not many! I've got two daughters-in-law who are precious to me and one more soon to be welcomed joyously into our family. I find myself always trying to be a well intentioned, non-meddling mother-in-law. Sometimes, I even succeed. Sometimes I don't.
In my studies of the lives of older Americans, I learned that almost nothing is as painful to them as estrangement from an adult child. When I wrote a blog post on this topic, it led to an extraordinary outpouring of interest that both surprised and moved me. When we reach the later years, our dream is to be surrounded by loving children and grandchildren.