Every time they leave I realize how close we are getting to the time when they'll have homes and careers of their own. That is, of course, assuming they can pay off their student loans, which are beginning to resemble the national debt. Son Number Two stopped me in the hallway yesterday, kissed my hair and rested his chin on the top of my head. There is that height difference.... I think he senses the end of an era, too. He is the more sentimental of my sons and every now and then when he's not paying attention I get a glimpse of that.
I surprise myself that I'm not holding on tighter, that I'm able to unclasp my claws long enough to wave as they board their planes. This is how it should be, and it feels right. I want them to be independent and resourceful. I want them to succeed, to find a career they love and a special someone with whom to share their lives. I even want grandchildren, although not any time soon, thank you. They should be setting off to conquer the world. God knows it could use some conquering here and there. It certainly needs help. Maybe they'll raise the average.
Still, I'll miss the empty peanut butter cracker wrappers on the arm of the couch, the rings in the bottom of the glasses of milk, the endless beep bop a boop of the video games which continue until stupid-thirty in the morning. But I don't want the 40 year old living in the spare bedroom. I want them happy and fulfilled. So off they go and I'll try to be brave (again). As long as they remember to come back once in a while. Because that "motherhood" thing does not have an off button, as it turns out.