Monday, April 27, 2015

College-Prep Chronicles, Volume 3

"I don't think it hit me--until the last one left home--that my job was basically over."
"It never occurred to me that they'd all move away."
"Boys definitely don't stick around." 
Three separate conversations. Three opportunities for me to stop in my tracks and wonder, "Could this actually be more difficult than I imagined?"

You know my story. I disliked motherhood for at least the first ten five years of my kids' lives. Nothing against them personally, I just didn't enjoy all the responsibility and the self-sacrifice. Frankly, it was really hard. Despite everyone telling me to enjoy it, that it goes "so fast," the time seemed to crawl by in those early years. As they grew up and things became easier, i.e., they didn't need so much from me, I became less unhappy. I wouldn't say I was singing from the rooftop or doing arts and crafts or making dinner, or anything crazy like that, but at least I wasn't regularly planning my getaway. Oddly enough, it wasn't until my children became tweens and teens that I actually decided this whole motherhood thing might not have been a mistake after all.

Given how eager I was for them to go off to college during the toddler years, I must confess that I never saw this coming. This sense of foreboding that's sometimes accompanied by a dull ache when I think about what waits just around the corner. I suppose if there's a downside to have pretty great teenagers, it's that it's harder to imagine letting them go.

For the first time in my life I'm having sentimental mommy moments:

The highlight of my trip to Italy was watching Ian from a distance and finding immense joy in seeing him smile and laugh. 

Pictures before the junior prom choked me up when I considered how grown up and lovely they all are. And dear God, how is it possible that next year it will be the senior prom?

I recognize that breakfast with Ian after church, before he goes to work, is precious time. And when we're together he looks at his phone less often than his father does, which makes me think the time is somewhat special to him, too.

When he makes me laugh or smile, even when he makes me crazy, I realize that our home won't be the same without him.

And it's not just Ian that I'm getting a bit emotional about these days. Although Abby is still four years away from college, I am acutely aware of what a huge void she will leave behind. For one thing, she's actually a visible presence, whereas Ian only leaves his room or the basement for food or to head out the front door for another destination. When Abby leaves home, who's going to run the household, knowing where everything is, where everyone needs to be and when, and how to do everything? Who will bake for me?

For the past year, Rob and I have been talking about our impending move, "as soon as the kids are gone." It sounded good to me, starting over, just the two of us. But now I wonder if I'm not employing the old "ditch the boyfriend/girlfriend" trick. You know, the one where you break up with him/her so he/she can't break up with you first? In other words, if Rob and I announce our decision to move on, the kids can't hurt us when it's their turn to leave. Oh, the mind games I play.

Hopefully, I'm making much ado about nothing. Perhaps I'll love having a quiet and considerably cleaner home. Perhaps I'll be so busy with my own activities I won't notice their absence (there is that theater degree in my future). Perhaps they'll call everyday just to chat so it won't feel like they're gone. Perhaps they'll both go to Villanova and I'll meet them regularly for lunch (HA!).

Perhaps I should stop worrying and wondering about the "what ifs" and try to enjoy the time I have left with them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Liquid Courage and the Dancing Queens

I returned from Italy last Tuesday evening, super crabby following the maddening inefficiency of the airport immigration experience. The dreary, gray skies and the general ugliness of Jamaica, NY did nothing to improve my mood, and the scary bus ride home only added to my misery. Within 24 hours I could add to my bitch list a canine chocolate overdose and an overwhelming to do list at work My full upcoming weekend should have lifted my spirits, but instead it all seemed like an ill-timed inconvenience given how much else I had to do. Given this piss poor attitude, the absolute blast I had this weekend came as a complete surprise.

On Saturday Rob and I went with friends Dave and Karen to Atlantic City. Dave and Karen are "those" friends. The bad influence kind with whom you always have a good time. Since our friendship began I've gone to more concerts and drank more beer than at any other point in my life.

The purpose of our trip to AC was not gambling-related. We were in town to see Jerry Seinfeld. You'll appreciate this tidbit: Karen originally proposed this idea to Rob because she knew I'd say "Hell no!" when I saw the price. But it was worth the gouging expense. Not only were Jerry and his opening act hysterical, but I had an absolutely awesome time post show, which translates into post 10 p.m. at which point in the evening I generally bow out and hit the sack. Not only did I not hit the sack after Seinfeld, but I actually hit the dance floor! This is BIG. I do not often dance in public. If you've seen me dance you know why. But we were at the Gypsy Bar where they serve beers not in 16 ounce pints, but in 22 ounce glasses. This liquid courage explains the dancing. And a good band playing today's popular hits also helped spur us on.

The wall-to-wall crowd offered a good deal of visual stimulation to go with the musical vibrations. I saw a woman with Life Savers strategically attached to her t-shirt, allowing various men to sample her wares. I gawked noted another woman whose dress ended where her thigh-high stockings began. I was surprised at the range of ages co-mingling. I'd guess 21-60, though I'm notoriously bad at guessing age. I still think I'm younger than everyone I meet, when in fact that rarely holds true anymore, which is depressing as hell, but that's a blog post for another time. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good about myself out there. Had on my favorite dress. My ass wasn't hanging out. I wasn't stumbling about in 4" heels. Wasn't spilling my beer while I danced. It was all good. Until my dancing and jumping caused a small leak and I was rudely reminded that I am not young and that I still need to do kegel exercises. But I didn't let that stop me! In fact, it was not boring old Kim who called it a night, but rather her usually gung-ho husband. We made our way to the hotel room where we promptly crashed and slept soundly until the next morning. (Note: Moderation is important if a romantic night is on your agenda.)

Sunday was a continuation of the good times that began with our AC adventures. I played with my pup and played in the dirt, readying the gardens for spring flowers. My pup also played in the dirt--if you need a hole dug, she's your girl. The evening ended on a more age-appropriate, but equally awesome note: Indigo Girls with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. Loved, loved, loved it! Even my aching hip, the result of the previous night's dancing, couldn't diminish my enthusiasm.

I figure if I get 10-hours of sleep each night this week I'll be good to go again next weekend!

Who's in?