O.K. so it’s March and my “kids-are-gone-blues” have all but lifted from my heart. I can honestly say that I am getting the “zip” or spring back into my step. It’s not a full-blown, I am so happy zip-a-dee-doo-dah feeling, but almost. Both my college-aged sons are happily doing their thing far, far away from home – entrenched in the goings on of the spring semester of their freshman and junior years. And I have not only come to terms with this empty nest phenomenon, I have embraced the whole “let it go” thing.
Well, pretty much…except for the occasional run in with an adorable photo on the fridge that boasts the two cutest cherub faces squished together in a loving big bro/little bro ultra-smushy hug, both in matching Superman pajamas…When I see that one, alas, I miss them again terribly, and exhale a drawn out sigh (the same kind of abysmal sigh I make when I sit down to start preparing for tax season). I curse the all too rapid hands of father time and start wishing for the good ole days…
Yes, those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end…ok. o.k. I digress.
But I am truly doing a better job of seizing the day and changing my personal paradigm to this mantra:
**The here and now are in fact the good ole days!**
How did I turn my frown upside down? Well although what I call “up-close parenting” is all but done, I have begun to master the intricacies of “far-away parenting”. There are still plenty of ways to be involved in their lives, albeit from a distance.
I like to think of myself as the command center in Houston and that they are out in space somewhere, getting an education about new life forms and environments. And it calms me to know that I still have some control as I have the tether that still binds them to Mother Earth. Meaning my hubby and I still hold the purse strings and hold the key to their safe return home….
And although there are times when communication lines go dark, I really do have the option of seeing them and talking to them pretty much as often as needed. Thank goodness for high-tech communication devices and social media. Like that compelling craving for freshly made, salty, sweet kettle corn at a farmer’s market, once I get my fix, I am good for a while…
Plus, I am happy to remind myself that I have the added bonus of getting to see them online almost every week during volleyball season. My husband and I can watch their games on any high-tech device. Usually, I choose to watch on our home computer. We have a large monitor and I can see every whisker on their faces in High Definition. “Aww, he looks so grown up and handsome!” ♥♥
At first whilst watching them online I felt like the Wicked Witch of the West, staring intently into her glass orb for signs of Dorothy… My own nose pressed to the computer screen, trying to spy if my son is healthy ——Is he wearing a knee brace? Is that a scab on his elbow? Does he look happy, well-fed and rested? Is that a new hairdo? And god forbid that better not be a tattoo on his forearm…
But now I am more relaxed about the whole thing and don’t feel the need to necessarily zoom in on the computer screen with a laser focus looking for signs of anything not quite right with their visages…I am more of a casual watcher, enjoying the fact that I can see them doing their thing, even if it is from afar.
It also helps that my hubby and I have started actually planning and doing more fun stuff together as a couple. We have hiked in the Sierra Mountains of Kings Canyon in the snow, rented a small cottage on a beautiful horse ranch in the countryside just for the new experience, and we even attended a golf tournament at Pebble Beach, courtesy of some well-connected, wonderful friends, dining and drinking on the patio of an incredible home on the 14th green. Next up is a wine-country road trip on motorcycles in the spring. And although there are definitely times I think, “the boys would love to see this and wish they were here.” I mostly look at my hubby and think, “how great that we are here together trying out new things.”
So I guess I really have grown into my new role as a mostly composed far-away parent and fun partner in crime with my husband. And as I write this blog I receive a text from one son and I am proud to say I don’t immediately anticipate the worst (“Houston we have a problem.”) Instead I serenely open his message and I am instantly over the moon with joy when I read:
coming home for spring break
Zip-a Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!!
My, oh, my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way