The deafening roar of silence

That’s it. I’m officially an empty-nester. My husband and I were heading down to Memphis for Elvis Week a couple weeks ago, and on the way, we dropped off my son at his new apartment that he will share with his brother as he starts college. (He does drive, but his car is in the shop at the moment.) I knew it would be weird, but I didn’t realize how weird it would be to come home to absolute silence.

When I plan supper, my first instinct is to ask him what he’s in the mood for.

And he’s no longer there to answer.

When I go to the grocery store, my first instinct is to ask if there’s anything he needs.

But now he’s in his own apartment now and buying his own food.

I know this is a rite of passage – for both of us – but I never thought that it would be this difficult to adjust. I worry about him. I wonder if he’s eating right. I feel his anxiety for starting the first day of school and trying to find his classes. I wonder if he’ll meet friends whom he will keep in touch with for the rest of his life.

Above all, it is the strange feeling of bafflement that I raised two boys to adulthood. I remember when they were, say, 5 and 7 and graduation seemed light years away. In the blink of an eye, it’s all over. All the stress, all the running around, all the keeping 5,893 tabs open in my brain to keep track of all the kid stuff — it’s all over, for the most part. No more school conferences. No more Saturday wrestling tournaments. No more uncomfortable but necessary discussions about growing up and avoiding pitfalls of life. No more worrying why they’re not home at curfew. No more being the direct line of influence to their daily decisions. Now I am just a spectator.

I know all of this is just the familiar path of parenthood, but that does not mean it isn’t alien to me.

Here’s to new adventures – for all of us! <clink>

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