And then the one day you findTen years have got behind youNo one told you when to runYou missed the starting gun --Pink Floyd
It is as inevitable as water flowing down the Mississippi. Life moves forward. In just a few weeks my youngest and last remaining "at home" kid will head off to college. He will be a freshman at Indiana University.
We have watched him grow up here on the old blog. When I first started writing he was active in little league and youth football. He learned to drive, went on dates, graduated high school. By mid-August he will be packing his car and heading to Bloomington, Indiana.
The nest will be more than empty. When the daughter headed off to college, to life, work, and marriage, it was tough, but there were still two boys at home. Then the oldest son headed off to the university and life in another town, making music. But one remained. The five year separation between the middle and youngest son helped keep the empty-nester wolves at bay.
That time is nearing the end. I can see it in my wife's eyes. She is going to struggle with this one even more than the others. And she had a hard time as they left to pursue their life.
I have never been one of those parents who cannot wait until their kids get to be adults and move out. I enjoy my children. I like having them around. I am a lucky man. Watching your offspring spread their wings and jump from the nest into life is hard. I suspect my parents sat at night and wondered how I was going to get by. Perhaps they wondered what they were going to do with their time, walking the house peering into empty bedrooms.
I think it will be hardest on my wife. Travel is part and parcel of my job. Always before there was a kid at home, or coming home to keep her company, even if only in a metaphorical sense as he played video games behind closed doors. Now, just an empty house will echo her silent conversations. Me? I like my own company. I spend all day in an office alone and hours on end in a car or hotel. The wife does not like alone time so much.
In many ways the coming weeks will be filled with joy. The boy is so happy and excited to start his new life, you cannot help but share in his enthusiasm. It is with pride you realize you have prepared your child to enter the world, despite a complete lack of instructions,direction, manuals, or on-line tech support. That makes me happy.
So I keep telling myself.