No one ever told me how much being a mom could hurt! Sure, there are all of the little things that go on as your children grow up. . . rolling over, crawling, first steps, going to kindergarten. I talked to moms who were so upset when their children started school. I did feel a little guilty, because all I could think was "Whew, just a few extra minutes of peace during the day!" Then came middle school, makeup for the girls, first dates, first dances, proms and high school graduation. I felt great through it all. I thoroughly enjoyed the changes in our relationships, the accomplishments, the achievements. I loved it all, until.....
It was time to move "Mommy" into college. It was exciting to help her decorate and fix her dorm room up, to listen to her get excited when she talked to her roommate about the things they wanted to do. Then the day finally came. Of course, our family moves as a unit, so moving day involved everyone who was available, which was pretty much everyone but "Calvin" He had football practice. Our entourage got "Mommy" moved in with as much chaos and commotion as we could muster. She had to get to a team meeting, which meant we had to leave. I had no idea how painful that would be. I knew then that life would never be the same.
Two years later, "Calvin" joined "Mommy" at the same school. I was sure that this departure would be much easier, I was experienced now and they would be together. "Calvin" had become a little more distanced from us during his final year of high school too. The entourage again made the trip and helped with the move ins. Leaving was not too tough, boys are so cavalier! But... on the way home, I sobbed for at least 45 of the 46 minute drive.
"Mini Me" was next in line. This one really was easy. We had battled so much during high school that she couldn't wait to get out and verbalized it regularly! For me, it actually became a relief. I actually had no intention of helping with this move but went at the last minute. Somewhere during her Freshmen year, we had a major turn in our relationship for the better. My tears were profuse when she moved away for one year as a new wife and mother. Talk about a broken heart!!!!!
By the time the "Blonde" left, the first three were well on their way. "Mommy" had graduated and was planning her wedding. "Calvin" had remained independent and he and "Superson" managed their own moves to and from school. "Mini Me" as always was independent. I took the "Blonde" to school alone. We did pretty good and she was going to have her older sister nearby. Of course, she had to run off to team meetings and practice, which wisely shortened the good-byes. I started sobbing as soon as I started the engine of the truck. I could barely speak when I called Doc to tell him she was moved in and that I was sure that my heart had broken. I went home to a pretty empty house. Five were gone and then there were two.
Three years after the "Blonde" left, "Pook" headed off to college. We had become particularly close over the years. He especially witnessed all the trials and tribulations of raising the first ones. We spent a lot of time together when he was in the car accident. Yet another entourage traveled along as we took him to school and football camp. When we left him, he was alone in his room. No roommate yet. He had never done anything like this before. I tried to hold it together until I left him. It was hard for both of us. We actually could not talk on the phone for a couple of weeks. I came home and sat in his empty room and cried.
And then there was one. The "Surprise" followed "Pook" to the same school three years later. We moved him in, went for dinner, dragged out the whole procedure. As I left him, I didn't care if I cried. Through tears, I finally realized that this young man had endured the same years that I did. One by one he watched each one leave. But now it was different, he was the last to go.
We took him back to school this weekend for the final time. My heart still breaks when I say goodbye, even though I never seem to go home to a completely empty house. We are full again with "Mini Me" and her family living with us and the "Blonde" living with us. The others all visit regularly so the house is always filled with commotion and chaos. And yet, as it has been every year for the past 15 years, when I get home, the house is empty! One person leaving changes it all.
This is the life we choose when we become parents. I don't think that you ever quite grasp it until it actually happens. But this is the time that God lets you know it will never be the same. That isn't to say it is bad. Just like raising children, it never gets easier it just gets different. When they leave it never gets easier, it is just different at home. May God bless you with love and strength and faith as you raise your children, hold their hands and finally watch them go.
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!