I’m at a tipping point. One foot is standing firmly in the role of devoted mom (24/7), the other about ready to skip off into Empty Nest Land. And the closer I look at the latter, the better it’s looking.
I love my kids. There is absolutely no doubt about it. And when they leave for college, it’s not like my devoted mother role takes a permanent vacation to Bora Bora. It is, however, a place on my “bucket list,” so the likelihood of me going there will increase exponentially when the last kid’s car is packed for college. Tail lights fade around the corner, and I am free! But am I really?
As parents, our role will never change as a whole, but the landscape will. I’m kind of excited at the prospect of not having to pick up my son’s dirty soccer uniform off the bathroom floor because it is much too physically demanding for him to actually pick it up and place it in the hamper six feet away. Or walking in my daughter’s typhoon-hit room to step over clothes (are they dirty? clean?) to get to a bowl of ice cream she ate the previous night and now the spoon is stuck to the bowl like a ceramics project.
And have I mentioned all of the half drank water bottles? It’s bad enough that I PAY for water in a bottle, but must they drink half of it, discard it under their beds and get another one? I don’t believe they are quenching the thirst of “monsters under the bed,” so come on people!
Now the “worry from afar” starts. Are they OK at college? Did they make it home to their dorm without being assaulted after a late night trip to the library? Yeah, right. The library lol. This is where the “letting go” begins. But how do we do that?
One thing that keeps me sane is thinking about my own journey leaving home. Back then (in the stone ages), we didn’t have cell phones for our parents to track us like felons. We called home once a week from the payphone in the hallway, calling “collect” and then having our parents call us back on the pay phone to keep the phone bill down. Our kids don’t know what all of that even means. They still can’t wrap their heads around the fact that when we were kids, we had to wait until Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. Right after Marcus Welby, MD was over. Ok, that is a story for another time.
Fast forward 30 years and I get FaceTime calls from my daughter at 2 in the morning to say “Hi Mooooommm!” And even though I give her a rashing of sh$& when she does it, the truth is, I’m happy she can do it. My son, on the other hand, will probably be sending me an emoji three days after I reach out to him, just to show me he is still alive. I wonder if I am wrong about that.
As I embark on this new stage in my life as a parent, I am truly excited for my kids. For them to find their own way and to know I did the very best I could to teach them how to be good people. But what is making me the most happy is the thought of not having to clean up after two teenagers. No more dirty dishes all over the counter that couldn’t make it into the dishwasher, the stove covered in food that no one bothered to wipe down, cleats and sneakers strewn all over the entryway and clean clothes I have washed and folded sitting on my kitchen island waiting to be moved to their rooms.
The thought of this totally puts a smile on my face. One thing’s for sure though. It will all be short-lived because they come back. And when they do, I will probably fall back into my 24/7 mom role, but I am going to try my best to fight the urge.