Just five weeks ago our youngest graduated high school. In 23 days he moves away to college. Life as we know it is changing, and fast is an understatement.
I, as a mom, am most definitely not prepared. I'm not talking about making sure the laundry detergent is bought, and the sheets are washed, and the supplies are packed. (Frankly, none of that is done - we have purchased a shower caddy and two shower poofs). I'm talking about the fact both of our kids will be gone and out of the house in month.
I know my husband and I will survive just fine. There will be fewer clothes to wash; groceries will be cheaper; and we will be able to walk out of a restaurant with a $30 bill instead of $80. Sure, we'll have to tackle the yard work and shoveling snow together, but we do that now. I will miss cooking for an army, because even though there are only four of us, I grew up in a house of seven and learned to cook for seven. And since my mother learned to cook from her Polish mother, I learned that cooking for seven really meant cooking for 12. So cooking for four, really means cooking for ten. (I don't understand this logic either, just run with it).
Don't get me wrong. I'll enjoy cooking for two, and then wait for the rare weekend when I can cook for all of us.
Having kids means you are afforded an entirely new friend base. You become close with your kids friends parents...and sometimes those friendships last longer than your kids friendships. I've realized I'm in pretty good company when it comes to these friends. Yesterday, one posted how much she wished her kids were younger again. I miss those days, where the only thing that mattered was mom and dad. Alas, your job as a parent is to raise your children to be healthy, well adjusted, contributing members of society, regardless of how much your heart breaks when you realize you aren't their whole world any longer, but just a piece of it.
Regardless of how I feel today about the fact that we will be pseudo empty-nester's in a month, life could be decidedly different. I have a cousin who's son was paralyzed at 19, and now fights daily with the pain that came with a medical trial. His parents are by far two of the strongest people I know. The amount of shit they have tackled in the last few years is something that would make anyone of us curl up in a ball and suck their thumb. Nearly two weeks ago another wrench was thrown at them when the mom had an accident in their garden and lacerated her eyeball on a metal trellis. She is in the same hospital where their son spent months of his life. Thankfully, she is on the mend.
We have a friend fighting stage four cancer.
We have multiple friends that fought and won against breast cancer.
We have a scary amount of friends who divorced after 15, 20 and 25 years of marriage.
We have friends that lost not one, but two, of their children in accidents.
We have a friend who's spouse has trouble doing even normal every day tasks.
We have a friend who is raising her grandson because her daughter is fighting a horrible addiction both to a drug, and bad taste in men.
All of the friends mentioned above have kids. Quite frankly, we are only friends with a couple of people that don't have kids. I guess that just happens when you get older.
So regardless of what you are going through, know that someone else is going through it too, or something worse, or different...or even having the time of their life. Enjoy the time you have with your kids, even if it means you'll only see them when they have time. Just remember, though, sometimes mom and dad come first, and we as parents need to lay the law, put down our feet, and most definitely piss off our kids. It's your God-given right as a parent. They'll thank you in the morning. (Maybe not tomorrow morning. Or the next morning....but some morning in the future).