Friday, August 14, 2015

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Summer jobs are a given at our house. Both my oldest kiddos have always punched a clock during the dog days of summer. They have worked at Target, Panera Bread, A+ Credit Union - you name it, they've probably done it. Not only has this put a little cash in their pockets, it's also put some dinero in their college funds. Win-win for the mama. This summer, however, I decided they should take a break. It was a purely selfish decision on my part. With our move to New Jersey, I wanted them to spend enough time in our new place that it felt like their home - not just a new address.  And it worked like a charm.  These digs genuinely feel like our home- a home for a family of six.

However, this morning that all changes. This morning my two oldest kids are leaving to go to college and we will be a family of four.

It makes me feel like Linda Richman. I think I may even look exactly like this. I'm getting a little verklempt . Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: The Partridge Family were neither partridges nor a family.  Discuss. There, I feel better.

My mother-in-law, Mary, has successfully raised three sons. She once told me the day each of her sons was born was both the happiest and saddest day of her life. She said it was the first day she finally got to see their sweet face and it was also the first day she prepared them to leave her. Those words have frequently come to my mind while raising my own brood. Some days I was able to walk this fine line with grace. Other days, not so much. But I have always known I could not keep them with me forever.

It is a complicated sense of satisfaction to see your children become self- sufficient. Don't get me wrong- it has been and always will be my main goal to help them become independent adults. Ain't nobody living in my basement, ladies. But it is undeniably bittersweet. There will be whole parts of their lives that will happen outside our family. That's exactly the way it should be and yet it still feels wonky to me.

It's a good thing that they want to try new things on their own. That they are going to different schools with different ambitions. That they want to blaze their own path. It means all the T's have been crossed and all the I's have been dotted.

So, what's a mama with mixed emotions to do? I'll tell you exactly what she does. She looks at pictures like this.

And pictures like this.

 And then she goes to the store for milk - by way of Texas.

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