On Friday December 17, I went through my checklist before I left the house: kitchen clean, bathroom spotless, sunroom sparkling and out the door. Several hours later, I returned to a completely different home. After I made my way through the fog of dirty laundry, shoes and wrappers, I was almost lassoed by the lap top and phone chargers laying in the middle of the floor, but fortunately the open refrigerator door broke my fall. When I thought no one could hear my screams over the blasting T.V., my 19 year old son said " Hi mom I'm home."
When we first became empty nesters last fall, I went through the 5 stages of grief. 1) DENIAL: No my kids weren't really going to be away for so long. They'll come back to visit almost every weekend. 2) ANGER: How could they leave me! I sat through football games and wrestling tournaments and even had to wash their smelly uniforms and this is how they repay me? 3) BARGAINING: Okay if I don't nag them maybe they'll call once in a while. 4) DEPRESSION: Why do I need to get dressed it's only 4 P.M. I need to rest up in case they decide to call me. 5) ACCEPTANCE: Did you hear that? Nobody's arguing with me about anything! I can have my car whenever I want it! I don't have to walk around the house with a dust buster attached to my hip!
On December 19th, my older son returned from law school and the family was together again. I was back to cooking, cleaning and lots of laundry, not to mention all the late nights waiting up for them. While my younger son and I still had our share of disagreements, I noticed a quiet elegance about my firstborn. He genuinely missed his little brother and took him under his wing during his short break.
As I was driving my older son to the airport to begin his next semester, I reflected on what a positive experience law school and college have been for both of my boys. It's taught them to be more independent and outgoing and to even have a deeper appreciation for each other. I couldn't help but cry when I kissed my heir goodbye. Then my young silver-tongued son turned to me and said "Come on mom, I'm taking you and Nana out to lunch." I had to smile as I remembered I still had my spare at home with me for 2 more weeks. After that it would be back to the empty nest and the remote control would be all mine.