The Knowing Is One Thing; The Realization Is Another.

I had the extreme good fortune of being able to spend some quality time alone with Jim this weekend. Much of Saturday was spent just taking care of things around the house, and in the evening we went out for dinner and a movie.

I think it was over steaks at Texas Roadhouse when Jim said, “You realize, don’t you, that in a year it will be like this almost all the time…just us?”

And while I knew that already–we’ve talked about it for years, how we’d be in our mid-forties when the kids stopped living at home full time–at that moment the realization truly hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the difference between having the information in my brain and then taking it to heart. I was neither sad nor happy about it: I was more amazed that the beginning of the next stage is suddenly almost upon us.

Having two kids in college means that next year is going to be an expensive one when it comes to tuition, but less so when it comes to utilities and the grocery bill here at home. It’s going to be odd for me to not have to have J’s high school homework and activities in the back of my mind, and definitely strange to get up in the morning with a whole day in front of me that will only consist of whatever is on my own calendar, without thinking about whether J will get home at 2:30 (after school) or 5:30 (after work). There won’t be guitar lessons on Tuesday nights.

On the other hand, I’ll be able to tag along with Jim on some of his business trips, and there will be less laundry to do. When J comes home for the occasional weekend or Thanksgiving holiday, the time will be less in quantity but more in quality, just like it is now when D comes home. The thought of it all is actually pretty exciting, mainly because what it all boils down to is that J’s leaving for college is not only the end of one stage and the beginning of another, but the realization of the dream that was born when Jim and I got married: to successfully raise a couple of kids to fabulous young adulthood.

We’re almost there.


  • Colleen

    Wow! I’m sure this next stage of your lives will be just as wonderful as this last one has been, and I’m sure you’ll share your stories of it here! Looking forward to them! 🙂

  • alisha

    it sounds exciting. a chance to do things again that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten to yet. and the new kinds of relationships with your children.

  • Shannon

    I’m hoping that once I get the first one off to college in a couple years, I’ll feel better about sending off the other two. But right now, the thought of college – the worry, the cost, the goodbyes – makes me vomit. Thanks for pointing out the silver lining.

    • Melisa

      What you have to do is just keep in mind that this is SUPPOSED to happen. Their moving forward with college or whatever other plans they need to take on in order to be self-sufficient means that you did your job as a parent, and did it well! (but the cost? Yeah. Blech.)

  • Liz

    I love this post. We have 3 more to go and our 1st didn’t leave home yet (she’s working and will start taking classes part-time in the spring) so, it’s like we get to start all over again. Then, I hear that they sometimes come back. What a ride, eh?

  • Dawndi

    On the way to our date on Saturday, Scott and I were just discussing the same thing. I’m not sad about Nick graduating this spring, though. I’m very happy for him and excited for Scott and me that we successfully raised a very fine young man.

    Here’s to you and Jim…and to Scott and me. Life marches on.

    • Melisa

      Why?? It’s not supposed to be sad, silly!
      Hey, and I’ll be able to drive to Columbus at the drop of a hat, just sayin.

  • Michelle

    Yikes! I’ll be almost 50 when I’m at that stage (see, don’t you feel young?), but that still seems so far away. It really isn’t, is it?

    I love how well you’ve raised your kids, and I love how you will have the reality you want. And I can’t wait to hear about those business trips!

  • Samantha

    Beautiful thoughts….and you summed up a new phase in life that can be exciting rather than scary or terribly sad!! Can’t wait to hear all about your adventures then!

  • Patty

    What a super beautiful time in your lives. Yes travel, travel, travel and have lots of fun together. These years were the ones my parents treasured the most and I loved seeing how cute the two of them were together.You both have done an awesome job with the boys…now go have fun and stay out late! 😉