This fall, we are saying goodbye to high school. It's Fi's last year in public school, so every event and activity is our final one as parents of a high school student. I don't get overly sentimental about such things, being a mostly forward-thinking person. Occasionally though, I stop to wonder what it will be like when this fall of lasts is over.
In one year, our daughter will be living away from home at some university somewhere but not here. We won't be driving her to lessons and rehearsals. Our son may be back in school after a year off to pursue indie projects to get experience in the business, or he may still be working. We'll have a mostly empty room in our house, a car that's sure to be parked more than it is driven, and significantly more time on our hands.
Someone said that when the kids leave you are sad, but you also feel a sense of freedom unlike that which you have ever felt before. I'm not sure if or when I'll feel this, because the kids leave in slim increments. They become independent in such little bits, you barely notice until you stop and have a really good look back. Now, both kids have jobs. When they study, they no longer need our help. One has a credit card. The other will have her driver's license in just a few months. Their identity is less and less tied up with ours. Our purpose is still strongly tied to theirs but in different ways.
As long as we are paying for university, sharing vehicles and inhabiting a home together, we'll be a nuclear family unit. But for the first time, I can actually see what the end of this phase will look like.
Andy and I will have to keep working a few more years, but we see a day when we'll actually renovate this clunky kitchen. I plan to have a party completely and solely in honour of my new oven, when I can afford to get one. It will be called an oven-warming party, of course. We plan to travel. Even when we have a few years more job-life, we'll be able to afford the time and money to take some trips. We want to go to the UK, drive across Canada, make Mexico a yearly thing. We're going to get another dog, but not until at least one of us is retired. Please, friends, hold me to this promise. Do not introduce me to a dog who needs a home now. Please? OK.
All of these things are winking at us now like they know we are coming. For the time being I'm enjoying the in-between of still being wholly with the kids but knowing that this time will soon end.
Fall is new year, more so than January. This is the new year of the last year of things just so. By springtime we'll know some of the answers to our questions. By this time next year we will be living them. For now, we are curious, cautious and jubilant (in a bumbling, but optimistic sort of way).
question: what's coming up for your family?
mompoet - looking at the winking possibilities