Someone is always gonna want Kool-Aid.
I leaned against the kitchen counter and stared at the four pairs of eyes looking back at me, tears streaming down their little faces, empty cups being shoved at me. I’d had enough of the crying, the fighting, the wanting, the needing… I wanted to run away from home. And, as soon as my mother-in-law walked through the door, that’s exactly what I did.
I grabbed my purse and my keys, hopped in the car and started driving. I had no destination in mind. I just needed to get out. I drove for a couple of hours before I finally pulled the car over, had a good cry, turned around, and went back home. I won’t say that’s the last time I thought about running away, but it was definitely the last time that I actually went through with it.
When my kids hit their teen years, I started to understand why some animals eat their young. I have a theory that the teen years are difficult because it makes it easier for parents to release their children into the wild when they come of age. But then something weird happens…
The closer you get to letting them go, the more you want to hold on to them. You start to remember the neck nuzzles when they were babies. Memories of them on their first day of school… The funny lisp from missing teeth… Shopping for the first formal… Bowls of ice cream used to mend a broken heart… Resisting the urge to stand up and yell “That’s my baby!” on graduation night. It all comes back, the good stuff, you know? The bad stuff is forgotten. Kind of like labor pains once you hold your newborn for the first time.
The kids are leaving home now. The Hubs and I are moving away and becoming empty nesters. I lean against the kitchen counter, eyes closed, ears straining…
No one wants Kool-Aid.
Beginning this week, I’ll start sharing a weekly series on how The Hubs and I are preparing for our new lives as empty nesters. I’d like to thank my friend, Madison, for speaking into existence an idea that has been flitting about my brain for nearly a year.