You’re motoring along through life and then Boom! A blue pair of Hanes underpants knocks you right on your bloomers.
Oh, right, an explanation.
It all started this past autumn when my friend Lynne took her daughter to Kent State University to get her settled into college and my buddy Denise transported her son to John Carrol University in preparation of his first day of university life.
My pals seemed quite mopy and sad as they escorted their children to their respective institutions of higher learning. And yet, as sympathetic as I felt, I didn’t really get it.
“We spend all this time trying to prepare our children to move away from home and yet no one thinks to brace the parents for what they’re going to experience,” Denise said.
Lynne put on a brave face.
“Oh, it was fine. I was dancing in the streets when we got back home,” she teased, though I could tell she was uncharacteristically glum.
My cousin, my next-door neighbor and another family friend all followed suit. They gave me a collective, “Patty, enjoy these days with Kyle; they go by so quickly” caution.
Oh, heck, what do they know? I’ve got 11 years before I need to worry about that long ride to Empty Nest University.
I mean, second grade is not high school. I’m good.
Seriously, I’ve plenty of time.
It’s not like he’s even old enough to have his hand scanned for pass code identification at the YMCA…though he will in a few months. And he IS big enough for the activity room instead of the child watch area there now.
Suddenly, I started to notice how quickly the past seven-and-three-quarters years have zipped past.
From teething to toddler to tricycles to tying shoes and t-ball is something of a fuzzy blur.
I was successfully squelching that icky feeling of Kyle growing up in a hellfire hurry when it all came out in the wash. Literally.
As I was dumping the colors from washer to dryer recently, I noticed that the household male underclothing supply had suddenly doubled.
“That’s funny,” I thought, “I don’t remember buying Kerry a new package of underwear.”
And it was then that I got a stabbing pain in the pit of my stomach and realized that I was having trouble distinguishing between my husband’s clothes and my son’s.
And that, people, is when I finally started to understand what my friends were talking about.
Just yesterday, Denise and Lynne were folding little shirts and pants for their children and then POW! they are packing all of their kids’ worldly belongings in suitcases for the big move away from home – and more importantly, away from their Moms.
People, I cannot even tell you how many counseling sessions I had to undergo before I could put Kyle on a school bus for the first time last year. The thought of him actually moving out of the house and living away from me?
Yeah, I can see I’m going to need to pick up a third job to pay for THAT therapy bill.
Kyle can’t move out.
If he does, who will tell me I’m beautiful with my Medusa hair spiraling out of control on a humid day? Who will need me to come tuck him in after a Harry Potter-themed nightmare? Who will use his light saber to strike down anyone and everyone who looks cross-way in my direction — in defense of my Mommy honor?
Nope, it’s settled. No empty nest for me. I’m going to hang onto these elementary school days with a vice grip I found in the basement yesterday.
And when it comes time for us to pack Kyle up and transfer him to the university of his choice some 11 years from now; I’ll not cry or fuss.
Because I’ll be subleasing an apartment just down the road, off campus.