Today, a friend and I were chatting about our kids. You know, as mothers tend to do.
When she suddenly blurted out that she wished she was in my shoes.
(Ummm... no not really. What with the whole friends going through a divorce, the dad facing heart surgery - and me trying to figure out how to convince him to come here [a whole 'nother story], the unemployment....the list goes on)
She was talking about the fact that at this time next year I will be preparing to send my baby, my ONLY CHILD, off to college.
At first I was incredulous - because she had recently just saw her oldest son off to Iraq (or was it Afghanistan? I forget. Either way, to a dangerous place).
As she went on and on about how quiet my house would be; how clean it would be (obviously she forgot about Hubby); how I could do anything I wanted - the list went on forever - it dawned on me....
She has two younger children; one who will just be entering high school this year and another in middle school.
She is still smack-dab in the middle of parenting. She is far, far, FAR removed from the empty-nest syndrome.
She has yet to actually realize that one day she will look up from her pile of laundry and be hit; face first; with that OMG! moment when she discovers - it's just going to be "us"! You know, the people we used to be.
Which then brings to mind the questions.....
What are we going to do without driving this one somewhere and back again because the other parent flaked out? What will we do without having to nag someone to do their homework, their class project, to put their dishes in the dishwasher and, DAMMIT!, pick up your socks! What will we do at night without having one of us wait up for him to come home - safe and sober? How will we react without having some kind of teenage drama going on ALL THE TIME?
How will we survive in a house that doesn't have that constant "buzz" that it seems to have when he's in it?
What will we have to TALK about once the last (or only) child is gone from the house?
There are many more questions that float in your brain - many, many more - as you try to prepare to wrap your mind around the fact that the one (or third, or fifth, or whatever - it doesn't matter - your LAST) core being that made you into a little family - instead of a couple - is leaving. Perhaps forever.
And she? Well, she's just not there yet.
But when she is, I'll be ready to hold her as she cries.