**This Cuckoo’s Nest is now officially, empty**
…as is my heart,
…and my wallet.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still two adults in the Cuckoo’s nest who are responsible for most of the cookooness, but the young have indeed flown the coop (*sobs uncontrollably).
Where do I begin? Let me grab my bottle of wine, I will be right back.
Ok. I am back.
Chick #1 flew back north (4.5 hours away), to begin his junior year in college. We had to rent a cargo van filled with apartment necessities. Those necessities consisted mostly of our things which we must now replace. Can you have a bridal shower as a 25 year wedding anniversary celebration? Just wondering.
The apartment is on the third floor with narrow stairs, so I only made the trip up and down once. What I love about this youngling of mine, is that he gave me free rein to do with his apartment whatever I wished. A mother’s dream! I set up his little kitchen with some touches of red, including a red cutting board, dish drying mat (essential), trash can, etc. He even let me organize his room! I had to contain my utter excitement.
After an exhausting day of apartment set-up and running to the store (Mr. B did the running) to get things we had forgotten, it was time to head back home. The great thing was that my son was returning home with us for the night, before officially moving the following day. I got in his car and let Mr. B drive the cargo van home. Do you know how incredibly precious it is to have uninterrupted hours with your 20-year-old son to just chat and laugh?
We talked about girls, careers, music, movies,cooking and parenting. We even threw in a couple of bathroom words (fart, mostly) in our conversation, as I needed to open the passenger side window on more than one occasion, to breathe in some fresher air.
The wonderful thing about your kids growing up is that they really begin to like you and appreciate what you do for them. He did not stop thanking me for all the help, advice, time and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ we have spent on him over the years. He kept adding how much he appreciates us as his parents.
Believe me when I tell you that there was a hell of a lot of SOBBING going on.
Now on to Chick #2.
My baby girl’s freshman year. This was a three-day
ordeal process. After collecting all twenty five bags she had packed and assessing the space we had in our newly purchased SUV, it was immediately determined that it was not all going to fit.
Fortunately, we had a carrier we were able to attach to the roof rack of the car. Off we headed, on our five-hour journey south. One half hour into our drive, she informed us that she had forgotten some important documents back home. Five and a half hours later, we had reached our destination.
Bright and early the following morning, we headed to the college for our designated dorm room move-in time. It was the most organized chaotic process I have ever witnessed. Lines upon lines of cars, separated by rows and color coördinated by dorm. Even WildCat himself
scared the shit out of us greeted us in the parking lot to entertain us while we patiently awaited our turn.
How many hours does it take to unpack twenty-five bags and set up a girl’s dorm room? I could not tell you. It may have been twenty-four or three, I am not sure. It was not until her very nice roommate and her parents showed up, that I appreciated my daughter only having twenty-five bags. How on earth her roommate’s seventy-five bags of stuff fit in the room, is beyond me.
You would be very proud of me. No tears were shed…up to that point. I did find myself staring at her and watching her every move for signs of distress, anxiety and joy. I saw all of the above.
We participated in all the parent orientation activities and got to know the roommate’s parents well. So much so, that the four of us wished we were starting college and partying at the dorm. Or at least, drinking.
Here is when the flood gates opened. There was a closing Mass to end the orientation and to gently nudge the parents off campus to allow for the students to settle into their new homes.
The tradition is for the President of the University (a dynamic and charismatic priest), to give a special blessing to the freshmen class and repeat the blessing once they are seniors and graduating. We were instructed to put our hands on the student’s head or shoulders and repeat after the priest as we blessed our children.
There was no turning back and no stopping the flood. I wailed like a baby as I tried reciting the blessing while looking right into her eyes. What can I tell you except that it took me hours to recover from such a beautiful and spiritual ceremony.
After the inevitable goodbyes, we set off on our journey back home. That we survived what became a six-hour white-knuckle drive in blinding monsoon-like rain, while swerving away from a family of deer trying to cross in front of us, was truly miraculous.
I have yet to enter my chicks’ rooms since I have been back.
I have however, frolicked around the nest naked a couple of times and it was so much fun!