20 years ago, while holding a squalling newborn, I couldn't imagine what today would look like.
Three years ago, while watching my firstborn graduate high school I didn't want to imagine what today would look like.
Four weeks ago, while moving my second child into his tiny dormitory, I shut my eyes really, really tight and tried to ignore what today was about to look like. A today without all my children living under my roof, thieving my ice cream, tripping over their dirty socks and finding wet towels on the bathroom floor.
And now it's today.
It's very quiet. I think that's the part I didn't want to imagine. How quiet it is when your children grow up and move out of your house and into their futures.
But mostly it looks...cleaner. My kids are slobs. Knox and myself, well, it turns out we run a tight ship. Sure, I miss constantly nagging someone not to drink milk straight out of the jug, please close the refrigerator door, don't put an empty carton back in the pantry, just how long are you going to let this trash bag sit here before you take it outside? Okay, so it is not the nagging I miss, more so the chaos that came before it.
I miss momming my kids. I miss them. I should have had more of them. So I told my husband just that, this weekend.
The horror on his face as I told him I think I'd like more kids is permanently etched in my memory. He wasn't appeased when I told him they didn't need to be biological, I'd be more than happy to adopt again. He mostly just sat in the chair, shaking his head back and forth while muttering "are you insane?" over and over again. He may need some convincing.
(The upside is, I'm pretty sure he'd be super amenable to me getting another dog or five if I had followed up with that request. Anything to divert attention from my almost empty nest.)
Since my new today is terribly quiet, and clean and honestly, a little boring, I decided to help ease this transition by popping onto campus and surprising my grown up children with a unannounced visit. I hear young adults dig it when their parents randomly show up and invade their space
It turns out, there are a TONNE of kids hanging around the university! Some of them I know! And they actually seemed happy to see me! It was like I was the most popular student on campus, only I wasn't a student, I don't have a campus and I was never really popular.
Of course, it helped that I walked onto the dorm floor holding a bag filled with Wendy’s® and the smell of fresh fries had an effect similar to chummy shark infested waters with fresh tuna chunks.
20 years I've been a mom; I've learned a lesson or two on what makes kids tick. A baconater will do it every time. Turns out, it works for every other kid on campus too. I've never been as beloved as I was while holding a bag filled with fries in the middle of a university dorm lounge.
For a short period today, I soaked up my kids in their new environment, getting a brief glimpse into their world while meeting their new friends and I then I hugged them goodbye and marvelled how amazing it is to witness them bloom into adulthood even as I've missed having them underfoot.
As I walked away I wished I could go back to all those yesterdays and tell myself not to worry about today. Because it turns out, today is pretty darn good, and my kids aren't gone, they've just relocated. Different is good, and it may in fact be better than I dared imagine.
And because of today, I know that when tomorrow comes, I will see them again. This time, I'll bring more fries and maybe a Frosty Coupon Book or two for their friends. Call it a lesson in bonding with your children and their friends through ice cream. I'm not above feeding starving university students to gain affection.
At least until I can convince my husband to adopt a few more kids and fill this nest back up. Or he brings home a puppy. Knox and I could use the company.
This post is sponsored by Wendy’s® .
And just so y'all know, Wendy’s® is selling Frosty Coupon Books (which include 5 free Jr. Frosty® coupons) for $1 from September 19 through October 31. The proceeds from these sales will go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help find families for children waiting in foster care. For each Halloween Coupon Book sold, $0.85 cents will be donated to the foundation.
Help foster kids find permanent families while helping your taste buds out at the same time. (That isn't a Wendy's official motto. But Knox approves it, so I'm going with it. EAT ICE CREAM FOR THE KIDS.)