One week from today I will be driving my youngest child off to begin his college career, which means I am on the home stretch to being an Empty Nester.
Although classically this is a time of sadness and depression, in many cases (cough*ME*cough) it is a time of celebration. Aside from having a preview every other week for the last ten years (joint custody has its benefits) I see it as a job well done.
My older two, starting their third year, are poised for a wonderful time. One finally gets to indulge in four classes in her major, having finally gotten most of the preliminaries and other requirements out of the way. The other has finally found his way to where I expected he'd end up all along, although the second change in major puts him on the five-year plan.
And the last one is just -- ready to go.
Although not interested in medicine, he's very much following in my footsteps as a scientist. He's already friended* his roommate on Facebook, gotten all his questions answered in the chat rooms, and, having already assembled the essentials (fridge, microwave, TV and game system) is sorting and packing his clothes. But after his hectic senior year in high school, he's going to take to college like a duck to water. I consider that a tribute to his maturity, and I celebrate his heading out into the world.
Still, this week will be special. The emotional countdown will be superimposed on the last minute hustle and bustle (dentist; eye doctor; laundry; clean out the minivan) of things that need to happen. As much as I'm going to miss them, I can't deny that I'm looking forward to being able to clean the nest and actually have it stay clean for more than 24 hours. But I won't begrudge them these last few days of clutter, along with my last week -- in a way -- as a parent of children. Time to morph over to parenting adults, a process that's been going on for the last two years but has accelerated over the summer. However you look at it, it's a special time.
*Attention Grammar Nazis: Yes, "friend" is now also a verb.