I just experienced my last spring break vacation with my last child. He will finish high school in 2 short months and go to college after the summer. The magical mystery tour of being parent to children at home will be over. Yeah, I know they will come home but mine, for some reason, leave and do not move back. They visit and we talk but it is very rare for them to spend more than a couple of weeks at home between gigs.
This year, another mother and I volunteered to be the cooks and "bottle washers" for the Varsity and JV baseball team for the spring break trip. There were about 22 teenage boys. We were to feed the team, keep them hydrated and make sure they were okay. In other words, be "Mom" while they were away from theirs.
As I was preparing for the trip, I began to realize what is about to happen. My son will be leaving the nest in 2 months. My days will not be based on getting home to make dinner for the family and the house will be empty if Jim is not home. We are going to have to become a team of him and I because that is what we are going to be. Might as well not fight it but make the best of the time left.
As we drove to Arizona, we talked and we dreamed and we counted our blessings. We disagreed about plans and tried to figure out how it all should be. Then, as time wore on and the miles went by, we rested into a comfortable silence. We didn't need to talk and just looked at the passing scenery. I began to think of how things will be when we are alone again. It wasn't such a sad feeling as it has been in the past. It was certainly bittersweet as I pondered where all the time has gone. But then I began to think about all the things we got to do when they were growing up and cherished the memories.
We arrived in Arizona on Sunday night and began our "vacation". The team arrived around dinner time and I put out 15 pounds of pulled pork that I made along with salads and desserts. They ate it up and each one thanked me and told me it was good. I smiled to myself and thought about how I am going to miss that. The days turned into baseball, taping sore muscles, tending to boys that are not quite as together as they seem and listening to who they are. They are good boys, negotiating high school and baseball, girls and themselves and who they are and who they wish to be. They are deep and shallow, clean and dirty...growing and thinking they are all grown up. It is an amazing transformation that kids negotiate at this time and I got to spend a week watching it.
They played some good and not so good baseball on beautiful fields. They played basketball and swam in the pool when they had free time. They ate and ate and ate and I swear some of them were taller when we left than when they came.
We did most dinners out on the patio by the grill. The boys would go through the line and fill their plates and then sit down. After they got settled, I played waitress...asking them if they needed anything else or brought them a drink or a napkin because they forgot. It made me feel good.
I have spent a long time fighting change and feeling anxious about it. But, for some reason, this time, I am a little better. Now, don't get me wrong...I will be sobbing when the time comes to say good bye to my boy but for now, I don't want to clutter my brain with worry. It is coming whether I worry or not. We have them, they grow up and they leave. If we are lucky...it is that easy. Sometimes it's not.
So as usual...I have unsolicited advice. Life is long and hard and busy...but then it's not. It slows down. That's when, for me, the regrets come. I shoulda stopped and played more, I shoulda held them longer and kissed them more. I shoulda...and if I knew then what I know now, I woulda.
This time, as this one gets ready to fly to coop, I am not going to say I shoulda. I kiss him a lot (more than he wants me to) and I spend any time I can get looking at him and loving him. I also kiss the other two when they show up...a lot...and I kiss and hug their friends too. I am not going to miss a second of this time.
I believe we are supposed to love in this lifetime and it will change everything. I saw it last week with the baseball team. I loved them, I tended to them and I fed them well...that's how I love and it was great.
So, life is life and every day, we have a choice on how to respond to it...
I say love...love...love!
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,