Our second child is graduating this year. Not only that, but all of our kids are now teenagers. Occasionally a random child will catch me standing in the doorway of their room, a distant look in my eyes, and ask me what I’m doing.
“Oh, nothing.” I say, putting on a tender smile, “just remembering when you were still little.”
Lies. I was mentally rearranging their room into a meditation space and picking out hypothetical wall colors. Shhhhh, don’t tell.
All the more experienced moms tell me how much I’ll miss having kids at home and I suppose there is some truth to it. Perhaps I will miss the constant sound of multiple Youtube accounts blaring make-up tutorials and rap videos and motor cross fails at high volume. It is conceivable that sheer force of habit might make me wake up at night, my fingers itching to write a large check to a school’s athletic team for warm up suits that will not arrive until the end of the season, or cleats, one of which they will immediately lose. There is a slight chance that without the nightly ritual of preparing a home-cooked meal for a large number of people, all of whom hate the food (although for different reasons), I will fall into a profound depression. But I doubt it.
I keep thinking about all the things I am looking forward to, in my quiet and definitely less crumb-filled future. Let’s say that’s because I’m an optimist, and not a terrible, unfeeling mother.
For one thing, I am looking forward to left-overs being placed in the refrigerator in actual containers, and not the remains of the original packaging which is so tattered as to suggest it was violently chewed open. Imagine how long food must last when it is actually protected from air and light and not just left to dry out or adhere to the refrigerator shelf.
And speaking of the kitchen, I am fairly ecstatic at the thought of things being returned to the same drawer from whence they came. Hell, I’d take the same general vicinity. No more food processor blades being tossed in with the serving spoons, lying in wait, like a razor-toothed cobra. No more jars of olives tucked in amongst the baking powder and flour. I anticipate my food prep time will be cut in half when I have a general idea of where all the required items are and do not have to spend valuable times scavenging for them, like the world’s most frustrating Easter Egg hunt. Rummaging around for chocolate? Delightful. But spending ten minutes searching for the frickin’ frackin’ potato peeler? Now I’m just mad.
Also, the absence of twenty eight pairs of aromatic sneakers, all tossed into a pile in the entryway. I read once that the entryway sets the stage for the rest of your home. If that is true, people must assume I live in the donations center of the local Salvation Army.
And no more granola bars. Ever. No more Takis, no more lunch meat, no more boxes of macaroni and cheese. All that money no longer spent on junky, unappealing kid food, leaving just that much more for mommy’s wine stash. Although, with the kids gone, I probably won’t need to drink nearly as much as I do now. Probably.
Sex. To be clear, I won’t be having more of it. Hubby will ask and I will tell him I’m tired, just like now. But at least we’ll be able to have the conversation in a normal volume and in front of the television like civilized people.
Hubby and I being able to afford traveling in an actual airplane, not a car. Staying in a hotel, without a pool or a free breakfast buffet. In our own room, all by ourselves. Sure, it will make it harder for me to justify watching cartoon network, but given that we will be spending the rest of our day doing grown up activities, like walking around and gazing contemplatively at art, or, ugh, historical plaques, I think I could still make a pretty good case for myself.
Look, I’m not saying that this is better than having teenagers in the house. (Nope. Teenagers are uniformly delightful, a joy each and every minute, everyone knows that.) I’m merely suggesting that there are compensations for the lonely, empty, quiet, peaceful existence I will be forced to endure. Plus, I haven’t even mentioned the very best part about getting these children shuffled off to adulthood:
Grandbabies. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently.