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Posted: September 11, 2010 3:25 p.m.
Updated: September 12, 2010 4:30 a.m.

The nest is officially empty. Both children are in college, enjoying more of our money than we are. It’s too early to tell how wonderful this part of my life might become, because I still can’t pass my youngest son’s room without emotion.

As with my first college-bound kid, I organized dorm stuff for our youngest for months, as a means to mentally prepare myself. And like déjà vu all over again, it was a struggle to get this kid’s attention long enough to pack a suitcase, too — much less feign interest in the items I’d carefully chosen for his dorm room.

During last-minute errands near his school, just before saying goodbye I found myself choking up hearing a small child in the next aisle beg his mother to let him down from the cart so he could explore. When it’s said that it goes fast, truer words have never been spoken. (Let’s be honest, some days not fast enough.)

Of course, my emotions are selfishly about me; after all, for more than 18 years, we raised each son to be self-reliant, self-motivated individuals. Now, as I wish my youngest would call more or when I act giddy when my oldest sends me a periodic text, I shouldn’t whine because they’re successful at being what I hoped they’d be: hardworking, independent people.

Unsolicited, my oldest did choose to extend his vacation with us recently (he said we were pretty fun people); and the same kid who gave us the bum’s rush out of his dorm last week called today. He thanked us for all of our hard work, “because some of the kids are struggling, Mom, and I have everything I need.”

I hope so. That’s all I wanted to do: give him the tools.


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