Around these parts Jim and I have chatted frequently about our impending “Empty Nester” status. We’re not only fine with it; we embrace it. We’re all sunshine and rainbows, happy that we’re thisclose to being able to say that we have raised two boys and sent them both off to college to prepare for their own life paths. It’s pretty exciting.
It was also pretty exciting for the two of us to accompany J over the border into America’s Dairyland (Wisconsin) on Saturday so he could audition for a music scholarship. (He’ll be majoring in Business but the college offers music scholarships to non-majors: hurray!)
We arrived early and had about an hour to kill so we went into the cafeteria and grabbed a table. Jim said to J, “I’m so excited for you. You’re going to really enjoy college.”
J replied, eyebrows raised and grinning from ear to ear, “Aren’t you excited for YOU, too?”
And with that, my friends, my stomach dropped out and I felt like I had been stabbed by a teeny, tiny knife. My eyes started to tear up and I promptly looked down at my phone, pretending to check a text message.
I guess here’s where it begins. I should have expected to get a little emo over this; after all, it happened with D and now here we are again, with our second and only other child. Just like so many other things that are easy to forget when you’re concentrating on the best/fun/happy stuff, I put out of my mind all of the bittersweet moments that randomly popped up and nearly took me to my knees when we went through this in 2010.
A couple of hours later when I snuck into the auditorium to grab some video footage of him practicing his guitar, pre-audition–on stage, all alone–the knot in my stomach came back. I started to feel like there was a silent scream going on in my head, and I don’t know for sure what the words were but I think they sounded something like “STOP! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!” Maybe.
I know this is par for the course. It’s totally normal. I know it will pass, and we are just on the cusp of a major life adjustment period and will come out on the other side of it just fine. It just feels…weird. Again.
As a very wise friend–who has already sent both of her children out into the world–commented on Facebook last night, “Those moments are tough! But you wouldn’t want anything else!”
Of course I know that, but it’s always nice to get a reminder from someone who has been through the same exact thing.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go think about how I can try to keep a stiff upper lip and get through the least amount of Kleenex possible in the next six and a half months, because indeed I wouldn’t want anything else: I just have to navigate through to the other side.