One would think I'd be used to goodbyes by now. Or that I've somehow figured out how to prepare for the letdown. After all, The Spawn are all finished with college and it's been over six years since we've had a full time, live-in offspring.
To begin the parenting journey again at 45 and 49 was quite another matter. The paperwork was tedious and the waiting was agony but none of that compares to actually adjusting to having a new child in your family, when you're a couple that's a little set in their ways.
If only I'd known how little time I'd have with them. If only I'd known that it would be over even faster than it started. Just slow it down.
Our kids have grown into full-sized Homo Sapiens fully capable of feeding themselves. The time has come to let them do their own hunting and gathering.
How does one even begin to sum up 30 years in a 90-minute lunch? We began by catching each other up on the parents we had lost, husbands we had matured with, children we had launched and iterations of the career paths taken. The conversation then shifted and we began to reminisce.
I knew a lot would change when my youngest went off to college. I have enough friends older than me who have been through it, so I thought I was prepared.
What makes the fifties be so damn grievously discombobulating? Here are just a few possible discombobulating factors:
While I can relate to the young mommy blogs by letting my mind wander back to long ago, I, too, can contribute to mommy blogs! I am still a mommy. My children may be older and have very different needs than when they were little boys but are now facing a far more dangerous world now that they are grown.
The Boy has embarked on a new journey. He has accepted one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. He is now an Alaskan bush pilot (I suppose we should now call him "Captain The Boy").
Like most couples, we entered the empty nest phase of our lives pretty much the same way we entered the world, starry-eyed and clueless. We had our big 'now what?' moment and stumbled ahead, knowing that we had to do something to reconnect as the couple that fell in love all those years ago.
Is that the 2-year-old girl down there -- the one who delighted in smearing peaches in her mouth, juice oozing down her chin? Is that the 5-year-old who grabbed my hand and pulled me to the jungle gym to proudly perform her latest trick?
There comes a time in every relationship when there's an urgent need to reconnect: when the kids leave, in the aftermath of an affair, or when everything's just got a bit stale. Even couples who felt they were rubbing along quite amicably while the kids were at home are forced to recognize that they've been living parallel lives when the kids leave.
I have been using the word "downsize" to describe our move from a larger home to a charming older one that is half of the size and needs extreme renovation. My husband Craig likes to use the positive description "rightsize," so I am embracing this new term.
I remember the older people in my life that used to say, "It all goes by so quickly." I would tell them that I understood what they were saying, but if it all goes by so quickly, how can the days so often feel endless? Now I have lived it; I understand.
I'm the mom of two boys. My oldest has just finished the first semester of his sophomore year at our state university. My youngest is about to fly out to finish his first year of college 700 miles away. It's a bittersweet time. It's also a time for the whole truth.