by Liza B. Wilson
Each stage of parenthood has its challenges, as well as its tender, precious moments. If we savor the sweet memories of the past and look upon the challenges of the moment with a bit of humor, life goes a little smoother. To help with the heartache associated with your children leaving home, just keep in mind:
• You can now eat the nutritional things that you enjoy for breakfast, like eggs, milk, and flour…you know, like all together in chocolate cake.
• You can enjoy adult conversation with your kids, and not have to cut their meat or pick up the broccoli they threw on the floor, when you eat out with them (but they'll still expect you to pick up the tab).
• You can wear any outfit you want without fear of embarrassing your teenagers (but you are sure to look frumpy because you are no longer aware of what is “in”).
• With no music blaring from multiple rooms, you'll be able to hear all the scary noises your house makes.
• No need to worry about night feedings, sick kids, or early morning practices, so you can sleep the whole night through—that is, if you don't have to get up to go to the bathroom or have a hot flash.
• The kids won’t be leaving their messes around for you to clean up; nope, all the messes will be yours.
• You no longer have to model good manners; you can eat ice cream right out of the carton (barring sensitive teeth and cholesterol worries).
• No one will use your good sewing scissors to cut paper, and they will be right where you left them…if you could just remember where that was.
• You get to take the kids off your insurance. But wait! Just as you get excited about your rates going down, you’ll find yourself in an older age bracket and they’ll continue to go up.
• You can give up your chauffeur’s hat. You will, however, be expected to be present at all grandbaby blessings, baptisms, and Little League games. These will not only be out of town, they will likely be out of the state. So much for less wear and tear on the car.
• You can run around the house naked screaming, “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free at last!” Just be sure the blinds are pulled.
• The kids won’t be constantly underfoot “Mommy-ing” you. Instead, you’ll find yourself waiting by the phone just to hear them say the word.
• When the children grow into responsible adults and bring home grandchildren, you will experience the same sweet joy dusted with anxious anticipation that you did when your kids were first laid in your arms. And you will know then they finally understand how much you love them.
Liza B. Wilson is the mother of eight children who has been day-in-day-out mothering for the past thirty-five years. Her last two, twins, left the nest for college this fall. She and her husband, Lorin, are now officially “home alone” but still too busy living to be lonely.