Alone Again, Naturally

Here I sit, pathetically scrolling down my email subject headings to see if any of my children sent me a message. Mary, my youngest, ended her college break on Sunday. My older daughter Anna started school on Jan. 2, so we sent her off on tthe plane from Dallas while we were down there visiting our son, who, now that he’s working at a “real” job, no longer has the lengthy college vacations.

So, my husband and I are once again alone with the dog and the cat. The girls said they weren’t sad to go back to school, but they would miss us. I guess that’s a really good way to put it. I miss them, but I’m not sad to see them go back. Does that make me a bad mom? Should I wish that they would always be with me?

Here’s the thing. I enjoy them when they’re here. They’re funny, smart, we like to do a lot of the same things, but I just start to get used to buying fewer groceries, having a cleaner house, being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it when a college break happens.

As parents, we have to get used to change, I guess. And change is hard, but with children, change is constant. One minute, they’re infants keeping us up all night and the next, they’re teenagers keeping us up all night.

My middle child will be graduating from college in June. I remember taking her to her first day of kindergarten and trying not to cry as I went to the cafeteria to have donuts with the other kindergarten moms. I remember walking around and around the block with her the week before she started middle school because she was so scared about starting a new school. We talked about what might be scary and how everything would be okay. When she started college, she would cry on the phone the first couple of weeks and we would talk about how she was lonely and how everything would be okay. When she was home for winter break from college, we ran together and talked about the fear of graduating from college, and what might be scary and how everything would be okay.

It’s senior year again and rather than college applications, she’s writing job and graduate school applications. I told her the same thing this time as I told her when she applied to colleges. The college or the job doesn’t define you. You define yourself and live the way you want to live because you don’t get to do it over. And, take it from me, it goes by fast.

Categories: Editor’s Blog