I knew it would be an adjustment, with Lauren moving out and all, but I had no idea I'd feel something close to grief.
For months I've been saying I couldn't wait for this day. I was sick and tired of her leaving wet towels laying on the floor, borrowing my clothes without asking, and doing NO chores to help the family. I was totally ready for that bedroom to be cleared out so that the boys could split up.
Now the day is here, and I miss my daughter, the big loser.
When I get up during the night I keep checking to see if she's home. She'd been working midnights recently, so some nights her room would be empty, and that was strange enough. Now there are two teenaged boys bunking where she use to sleep. And she's off in Mexico on her honeymoon.
The family living in our home is down to "just" the six of us: my four boys, the Big Man, and me. It's shrinking. Soon they'll all be gone, I know. There will be no more legos for me to suck up in the vacuum, no more violent video games on the TV. My grocery bill will be less than my mortgage payment. I will no longer have conversations about $400 cell phone bills, late night excursions or undone chores. My days of serving as chauffeur and referee will be over.
Right now, even while I'm missing my daughter, all that sounds great on paper. I get sick of all that stuff. Who wouldn't? It's a pain.
But so is the pain of letting go. Of watching my babies grow up.
So today I have no answers, no advice. I'm hardly an empty-nester -- there are still four fat, needy chicks waiting for me to fetch them a worm. I'm just doing that thing we mothers do -- wishing it all away, wishing it wouldn't end so soon.
I wish I was better at living in the moment, at drinking in the joy and ignoring the inconveniences. Because that's really all they are, inconveniences. That's a small price to pay for the great gift I've been given: a nest full of precious ones ready to soar.