People often say to me, “I can’t believe your kids are so old! I’ll bet you’re going to miss them when they’re finally all gone.” Usually, I respond with a fake “absolutely” to avoid an awkward moment, because the truth is, I cannot wait for my chicks to fly away. My four children point to the fact that I am cold and dead inside to explain my apparent lack of emotion at their forthcoming launches into adulthood, but the real reason is that for me, parenting is akin to an ultra-endurance race. Once you’ve crossed the finish line and puked, you just want to eat a Quarter Pounder and go to sleep. Sure, there’ll be fond memories mixed in with the pain, but you’re glad it’s over and fairly committed to never running again. Ever.
With three in college, we are 75 percent of the way to Empty Nestville, and this past week, our youngest was housesitting. I was able to get a real taste of life after kids and confirm my suspicion that I will indeed love having everyone gone. The quietude. The cleanliness. It was downright delightful. And for me, at least, once out of sight, definitely out of mind, which meant far less maternal anxiety. I’ll always be a mom, but it’s far easier when you’re not on call 24/7.
Does it seem like only yesterday when I had four rug rats under 6? Yes. I honestly don’t know where the time went. But I’ll also admit to being thrilled about that chapter nearing its end. I’ll take a McDonald’s No. 2 and a long nap, thank you. Wake me when the grandkids arrive!