Taylor left for his sophomore year of college last week. I was happy to see him go.
Psych! I wasn’t happy to see him go, though I was much better about it than I was last year. If you’ll recall, last year I told everybody he was going to camp. That seemed so much more… I don’t know. Temporary?
The growing he did during his first year of school was amazing. Don’t get me wrong. He’s still my little boy, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the man he’s turning into. Except for when he keeps forgetting to clean the bathroom or wash the dishes or whatever it is that I’ve asked him to do. That I’m not so keen on. But the overall guy is pretty cool.
This stage of parenting is just weird. I can’t think of another word for it. I’m sure those of you who have older kids know exactly what I’m talking about. He’s still not an adult, but he’s not a child, either. He had nine months on his own and then when he comes home he’s still that independent 19-year-old, and yet our rules and expectations haven’t changed all that much. The rules may have loosened a little, but the expectations have actually increased. After all, he’s nearly a grown up.
So then I find myself in that same place I’ve been in the last few years. I miss my little kiddos. A lot. And yet I love my big kiddos. A lot! I’m so thankful for the relationship I have with both Taylor and Katie and wouldn’t trade that for the world. Do they exasperate me? Sometimes on an epic scale. Do I exasperate them? Surely not!
And now Todd and I are starting to see a life without children in our near future (relatively speaking, of course). That infamous empty nest stage is knocking on our door and is met with a mixture of sadness and excitement. For 19 years everything we’ve done has been dependent on our kids, which is how it should be, but we’re starting to get away from that. And I kind of like it!
But then I look at pictures like these and I realize just how much I miss that part of our lives.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every stage (except for the parts I have erased from my memory) and I figure this next stage is going to be just as good, only different.
And no, I’m not counting the days until the first college break. Weeks, yes. Days, no.