Thursday, September 24, 2009

Containment

My son is coming home for a visit from college this weekend. I'm so excited to see him I could practically levitate. But of course, I will contain myself. I will act merely casually happy so as not to suffocate him. A bunch of his friends at different colleges are coming into the city this weekend, too, so I'm sure this trip home is about them, not us. Nevertheless, we will find a moment to sing him happy birthday over cake and candles, as he will be 18 one week from this Sunday.

You know, when your kid goes off to college, you go into a kind of mourning. It almost like the phantom ache from a missing limb. You just hope and pray he makes smart choices, is kind to his friends, is purposeful about his studies and enjoys his life. But other than sending money, there's hardly anything more you can do.

My husband and I are also having dinner under the stars (as in, on the rooftop of our friends' apartment building) on Friday night with a bunch of friends. Our progeny are all in high school or college, pursuing their own lives with increasing degrees of independence, and we are feeling a loss of community. You can tell because when any one of us issues an invitation to get together, the rest of us happily accept.

I think we're all in transition, glimpsing the empty nest looming in our future and the need to reinvent our calendars. And we understand what this moment feels like for one another better than anyone.

3 comments:

  1. hopefully your son was sensitive to your repressed exuberance and carved out enough family time to meet everyone's needs!!!

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  2. You have no idea how much I value your posts. The sentiments in this particular post are what I remind myself of when I find myself frustrated with my two young children. I know these days are coming and I'll be dealing with the empty nest syndrome sooner than later.

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  3. mouse, I appreciate that good thought! it turned out to be a very reassuring visit--eventually. Will post about it, I think.

    Mango Mama, we're all on the journey, aren't we, and as you say, we have to make ourselves pause and savor it all. Thanks so much for your comment!

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