Last night after work I pulled out the suitcases to help the kids pack up for their annual (as of last year…) trip to New York. It’s part of the divorce settlement. At least this year I’m pretty confident that they are more or less capable of taking care of themselves. My crazy work schedule had me teaching them to do their own laundry, cook, and in the case of my youngest child, ride public transportation on their own. They have some pretty amazing life skills, so even with their father’s even crazier work schedule, I’m confident that they will be okay.
And let’s just be honest – I won’t miss feeding three voracious appetites. They have become locusts… The oldest will be sixteen next month, my middle child (my daughter) is nearly fifteen, and my youngest will be thirteen in January. I can easily plunk down a couple hundred dollars in groceries only to have them complain two days later that there is nothing to eat – and while there is stuff to eat, none of it is exactly right to make a real meal. Frankly, I don’t want to pop open a can of sweet potatoes and just munch on them without anything else, so I can understand the complaints. But two days earlier, there were bags of snack item, several pounds of fruit, some lunch meat and bread, several pounds of cheese, tortillas, and several packages of cookies. Where did it all go?!
My youngest has been known to consume an entire watermelon in less than a day. The whole thing. By himself. The gory entrails of juice and rind will remain on the table with the butcher knife he used to murder it.
So yeah, more of my paycheck may actually go to some of these past due bills, and I’m hoping to pick up a little work on the side to help me stash away some money while they are gone.
But I have to admit, I cried on the drive to work, knowing they will be gone when I get home.
And the dog? He was very interested in the suitcases. He climbed in. Maybe they can sneak the little bugger on the plane, so he can pee all over John’s floor instead of mine…
Saying goodbye to my kids sometimes makes me think of an essay by the late Erma Bombeck, from If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing Stuck in the Pits?
It’s a sweet exchange between Dina and her son, Mike – the things they said, and the things they did not say.
When I go home, the house won’t be empty. Adam will be there, finally able to relax a bit without the chants of “Food, food, food” on auto-repeat, no fights in the living room over the television set or the piano. It will be peaceful. And before I know it, July will have us visiting the kids up in New York, and August will have them home again. But there is just that little reminder that some day, in the not too distant future, they will be leaving to live their own lives.