Seasons change outside my kitchen window. Seasons change within my own home.
A month or so ago, I stood at my kitchen sink mindlessly washing a glass and noticed the home of my neighbor across the street.
“I am not alone at this crossroads. Many families that surround me find themselves at the same juncture as I.”
I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 17 years. Much against my personal taste, I intentionally moved to this planned community when my son was three. I knew it would make a wonderful and safe haven in which to raise him. Complete with movie theater and sandwich shops, organic markets and play parks, it provides enough of a microcosm of real life in which to allow your offspring more and more independence as they age.
I am not alone at this crossroads. Many families that surround me find themselves at the same juncture as I. All those runny-nosed toddlers turned into snotty middle-schoolers turned into snooty teens are leaving home in droves. Leaving behind fairly sizable empty nests.
The Changes Outside:
My across-the-street neighbors have three boys. The middle one being the exact age as my son. For the last six years, I’ve witnessed their front yard be ground zero for what seemed to me like a never-ending game of pickup basketball. All three boys, along with their chums, spent countless hours dunking a bright orange ball into a netted basket.
Then, there was one less (along with a few of his friends). A year later, another one (and his friends) disappeared, leaving behind the baby of the family to singularly take on the perpetual basketball game. It happened by degrees. Similar to the change in seasons. Almost imperceptible, the scene outside my kitchen window mutated. Just like mother nature turns leaves into an explosion of color and then sheds them in Fall, our neighbors shed their offspring – one by one.
The Changes Inside:
“Turns out it’s more a mini-series with countless episodes that allow us to relive the departure.”
None of it struck me at the time. Heck, I was focused on the changing seasons in my own home. With only one offspring, my debut and closing night of Your Child Leaves Home (for the first time) was a singular event last year. Added to the rarity, the event was overshadowed by a pretty awful skydiving accident that left me with three broken vertebrae on the very day he was headed off to school for the first time.
But hold on… Did I really escape starring in theYour Child Leaves Home play? Turns out it’s more a mini-series with countless episodes that allow us to relive the departure. I’m at episode number two. And for all you very seasoned mothers of adult children, I know I am naive to believe that departures only happen in the Fall as they head off to University. I know, many of you experienced unanticipated homecomings and departures during the pandemic years. And, even beyond that – I get that life is long and circumstances can provide us many opportunities to relive the child leaves home scene.
The Ongoing Saga Of The Child Leaves Home:
This year I played a supporting role in our very own production of Your Child Leaves Home. Lists created and double-checked, Amazon packages clogged the front stoop, packing cubes stuffed with clothes near the breaking point, I was present and accounted for.
Due to some special circumstances, it made sense for his Dad to drive him and his treasure trove of new apartment living items to school. The three of us packed the truck and the two of them shoved and melted themselves into the little room they had left to be included in the move. My son took the first shift driving and pulled away from my driveway. I watched as he drove past the neighbor’s now empty basketball court reminding me that seasons change on both sides of the street.