Let me tell you, as your last child nears the end of their high school career, that calm turns to an odd mix of emotion. After high school, each year they go back to college, that familiar sense of calm begins to turn into a confusing mixture of elation at watching your children enter further into their own life adventures and panicked realization that they do not need you as much as before…well, sans the money, laundry facilities and an occasional meal.
If I have learned nothing else in my 23 year stint as a parent, in the end, it is the small stuff that matters most, I’m not screwing up my kid as much as I think I am and the little people I’ve spent the first half of my life trying to shape into individuals, will challenge me the second half of my life as I try to let them actually be the individuals I’ve encouraged them to become. (That will teach me, I’ll be the one on the therapist’s couch, not them.)
Today, with our oldest out of the house, married and raising her own beautiful family, the middle two in college and my youngest in the last two years of his high school education I’m thinking, 'empty nest syndrome my foot, I've got this'.As my youngest son left the house this morning for the first day of his junior year in high school he was smiling. He is looking at an exciting year with great possibilities, the likelihood of getting his own vehicle in the near future didn’t hurt his attitude either. I wasn’t exactly in the surreal state of calm from grade school days past, but was excited to watch him start a new year with such a great attitude.
Tomorrow, I may be hatching a plan to disguise the family dog as our newest family member and trying to enroll her in school.