So as you can imagine, I spent a significant amount of time last week in a very sentimental place. Memories and moments that I hadn’t thought about for years suddenly surfaced, especially as Nick and I were packing up his room. I was reminded of how quickly time goes, especially the time we have to actually raise our kids, to teach our lessons, to watch them grow. Who decided that 18 was a good age for kids to go anyway? I say we demand a re-vote! Zac Brown, one of Nick’s favorite singers, has a new song that I think captures my feelings here, he sings, “And as time goes by, it’s funny how time can make you realize we’re running out of it.” It felt like yesterday that we painted Nick’s room his Philadelphia Eagles colors… like yesterday he helped his dad build his loft bed…like yesterday he decorated his boy-cave with team pictures, his pencil sketches, baseball caps, and a poster of Dwight Schrute…like yesterday he displayed his collection of vintage Elvis albums, stacks of Sports Illustrated magazines, his watches and Axe cologne…like yesterday he displayed his skateboards, lacrosse sticks, balls, gloves, and jerseys. As quickly as his room turned from the Americana theme he had as a little boy to the sports-themed room he had as an adolescent, he is decorating a dorm room with his new roommate.
It’s like yesterday we brought our baby boy home from the hospital. It was Father’s Day, 1995, and I remember feeling so nervous and wondering how different it would be to raise a boy. I had come from a family with three daughters, and Dom and I already had two sweet little girls, so when Nicholas came along, he took us all a little by surprise. A beautiful surprise…and he’s been surprising us ever since.
Nick is a young man who leans more toward the quiet, contemplative side. He adores his friends and his family and he always has a smile and a hug to give. Nick’s never been shy about doling out affection, even in front of his peers, but he’s also a get-in-the-trenches kinda guys-guy. I have loved watching him with his childhood friends through the years – they are very close. During everyone’s last week home, they found multiple excuses to get together to say good-bye ‘just one more time’. It gets you right in the heart.
Last week Nick and I found a little time to be together, just the two of us. We did the mall thing. We shopped for some jeans and then of course stopped for a meal. We lingered over home-made guacamole and chicken tacos at the new Mexican restaurant in the mall. I have come to learn that it’s pretty easy for a kid to open up over guac and chips…and talk about ‘living in the moment’…I heard nothing but his voice (and the sounds of our crunching). Everything else just magically disappeared. As I listened, he shared. He talked about his goals and dreams for his future but he also talked about obstacles he knows he may face and how he’ll work to overcome them. In that moment I realized two things. #1) Our boy is ready, and #2) He is no longer a boy. It was all I could do to contain myself. A mama just wants to know that her child is ready. He is ready. Over his 18 years, as we slowly let up on the reigns, he was not afraid to take them and make decisions that ultimately suited his personality best. I am very proud of him for knowing himself so well and for sometimes making decisions that weren’t necessarily popular but were right.
So here we are, one week later…he’s all moved in. I must say, it was a pretty seamless move. The college did a wonderful job of helping with the physical labor part of it. They had a committee of student volunteers available to literally unload each car and carry everything to the students’ dorm rooms. Everything. It was the family’s job to just follow them to the room and then take over from there. We spent the remainder of the day setting him up, meeting new people, and wishing for time to stand still.
Ya know, the morning of the day that you deliver your child to college, is the moment you understand the meaning of FINITE. You’re kind of stunned into feeling every minute of the day that passes. You realize that there are only x amount of hours before you have to leave them and go home to a house that feels very empty.
We, however, had a secret weapon…Miss Chelsea. Our middle daughter was home to create a softer landing for us. When I think about that evening – all I picture is Chelsea with her big heart and strong shoulders to support her dad, and her soft, pillowy hugs to support me. Our little songbird from the west coast also called to sop up our tears through the telephone. What would we do without family?
Well, you might laugh to know that Nick’s college is only 25 minutes from our home. And that is great. But away is away and we will miss our buddy.
Let’s make some guacamole.
4 ripe avocados
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 small tomato, chopped
Cut avocados in half lengthwise, twist halves apart.
Remove the pit by hitting it with the sharp base of a knife blade and twisting.
Scoop out the flesh of the avocado onto a plate or cutting board.
Sprinkle on salt, and pepper.
Use a fork to mash avocado to desired consistency.
Add chopped tomato and stir once more.
This recipe is best served with tortilla chips and conversation with your teenage children.
Ciao for now…