Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Launch Number One

Some days I want my house back. Most days I’m okay with sharing it. It’s only been recently that I’ve come to realize how very close I am to launching my kiddos. Yes, the youngest is only in middle school, but as any high school parent can attest – it goes by fast. Five years. That’s all that’s left.

I used to think I would be sad. Maybe even a bit inconsolable when the last one leaves, but lately I find myself fantasizing about the quiet house. The counter that stays uncluttered. The fridge that stays full.

Will I miss them? For sure. But I’ll look forward to hearing about their adventures via phone, text, Facebook, and email. I’ll savor their visits and time spent with them. I think I will appreciate them so much more when I don’t have to pick up their dirty socks or clear their forgotten dishes.

I’m crazy proud of them and astounded at how great they are turning out, despite how unprepared their parents were going in. We could argue the nature/nurture dilemma until the cows come home, but I'd still lay my money on nature. Maybe it’s because they seem so ready to do their own thing, that I’m so ready to let them do it. It will be such fun to witness - the bumbles, the successes, the hilarious outtakes - I'm looking forward to all of it.

The first one launches tomorrow (In about 21 hours to be exact). So many small irritations and inconveniences have cropped up in the process of getting him registered, roomed, and paid for, that I’m more than nervous that it won’t actually happen or if it does, it won’t really stick. But, fingers crossed, the house will get one third quieter and the grocery bill one third smaller in less than 24 hours.

Will I be sad? I’d be lying if I said I won’t shed a tear or two. If only in memory of that sweet little tow-head boy with the bowl cut. I’m certain he’s still in there somewhere. I catch glimpses of him in a fleeting dimple when he laughs or the way his whole manner softens when he stops to run a hand over the dog’s head. I will miss my sweet boy with pudgy hands and deep questions.

Will I worry? You betcha. I’m a first-rate worrier. I can imagine all kinds of catastrophe, enough to keep my heart racing and sleep at bay for at least the first month he is gone. Will he find his classes, remember to eat, make friends, do his work, meet a girl? Will he drive his roommates crazy, lose his phone, get enough exercise, find his classes, or figure out how to do laundry? Mostly, will he miss us? Will he call me? Will he answer my texts? Plenty to worry about. I could make lists or write entire essays about it.

But I won’t.

Instead I’ll focus on the positive. No longer will I step on Dungeons and Dragons dice left all over my house or fish them out of the mouth of the latest foster dog. It will be nice to know the cats are safe as no cars will come roaring up the driveway at 30 miles an hour. The milkman will be relieved to only have to cart three bottles instead of seven up the driveway on Thursday when he makes his delivery. No one will wake me up at 1am with his pacing in the kitchen below me as he mentally sorts through a story or his evening.

I’m excited for him to meet interesting people who haven’t spent their entire lives in Pennsyltucky. I can’t wait for him to learn from professors who challenge his viewpoints and require that he actually read the text. I’ve been warning him this day would come when he will be responsible for his own diet and laundry and safety. Although he may learn the hard way how to set an alarm clock, keep track of his room key, and change the temperature on a dryer, I know he’ll revel in his independence. Which is what this whole parenting gig was all about. That’s the end game.

And hopefully, by Halloween I’ll be able to laugh at my fears. As always, my child will surprise me with his maturity, ability, and resourcefulness. This entire essay will seem silly. A silly collection of a mother’s heart, an overreaction, calling for one last roll of the eyes.

#launchingfirstborn #herewego #Susquehannabound