I knew this day would come. But I still wasn’t ready. Just over a week ago, we were swimming and snorkeling in the blue waters of Hawaii, all six of us ~ my four boys, my husband and me. And now, just three of us are left at home staring at each other.
It seems so surreal, kind of like the watching the sunrise at Haleakala Crater on Maui where we sat perched above the clouds in the freezing cold to catch the first glimpse of the sun just two weeks ago.
For the past few weeks, one of the twins would tease “Mom, we’re leaving you…we’re going to college.” The reality of it all crept up on me a few days before the first one left, then hit me hard when the second one left. I dreaded dropping our third son off because I knew how eerily quiet our house would be upon our return home.
These sunset views were some of the priceless moments we shared as a family just a week before everyone left home for college during our vacation on Maui.
Just three years ago we dropped off our oldest son at college, and I remember how hard I cried. I was still really busy with the three other boys at home, so although it was a big adjustment for us as a family, everyone eventually settled into their new place in the family order and went on with their lives. And now, the twins are gone at the very same time, leaving us with our youngest at home. I feel so fortunate to have one son left with us still because I’m not ready to be an empty nester.
I miss the noise, the activity level, the chasing around the house, the football throwing across the family room, the basketball bouncing in the house (FYI boys, both of these are still against the house rules), the wrestling and playful punching, the joking around, and the teasing. There’s far less laundry to do, a lot less grocery shopping, and a big change in the quantity of food I have to cook. There’s also less of a mess – no more books and papers scattered all over the kitchen table, and no more piles of shoes by the mudroom door. But, I miss the busyness of our household, and I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the mess.
It’s going to take me a while to get used to a very quiet house, the empty rooms and the extra parked cars in our driveway. I’m going to miss my older boys big time, but I know this is just the next stage in our lives and theirs, and that this is what they, my husband and I have been working so hard for all these years. This is the reason why I left my corporate finance job 12 years ago. Yes boys, all the nagging over the years about doing your homework, summer reading and math, preparing for your SAT’s, working on your college essays over the summer, getting paying jobs (and learning how hard it is to make a living), teaching you to do the laundry, iron your shirts, cook a little bit, and all the other chores has finally paid off. I know they’re going to miss my home cooking as much as I’m going to miss cooking for them, but they have promised me they’re going to eat their vegetables in college.
At the end of the day, I can honestly say we have done our best to raise our boys to be responsible, independent, young men who will hopefully make a difference in this world and make it a better place. I am so proud to see the young men they have matured into and am looking forward to seeing where they go next. As for our youngest son…you’ve got our 100% attention now, and we’re looking forward to spending the next six years continuing to hone our parenting skills (there’s always room for improvement), and giving you our undivided attention ;).
We wish our boys the very best this coming year and will be thinking of them often. They know I’ll be waiting to cook their favorite meals whenever they come home.