My Dirty Little Secret

Dirty Secrets

David and I have one chick left in the nest. He graduates from high school in June. And I am marking the days. I keep a gigantic calendar and mark a red X each day. For my son’s sake (and to avoid horrified looks from house guests), I keep the calendar between the mattresses of my bed.

I’m fully aware how bad this looks, so I will explain myself. I LOVE MY
KIDS! But, when June 8 rolls around, I will have spent almost twenty five years of my life raising them. I deserve this dirty little secret.

This callousness does not make me impervious to the emotional milestones along the way. I recently received my son’s cap and gown picture taken at his school. My heart literally stopped when I saw it. I have spent many moments in the privacy of my bedroom looking at them and wondering how my baby has gotten so big. And in time I will be strong enough to take the photos down from the ceiling above my bed. Maybe when we put the house on the market.

I have learned that it pays to plan to avoid random emotional outbursts. My oldest daughter, The Piglet, will never forgive me the coyote-like howling from the front row aisle seat that occurred at her graduation ceremony. So I have resolved that on June 8, I will not sit at my son’s graduation in the vicinity any of these people:

1) Other mothers graduating their youngest child
2) Single mothers graduating their only child
3) My husband

The school community at large will thank me (I’m kind of notorious).

I have similar plans for my son’s last Tuesday with us, the last macaroni and cheese dinner, his last Dentist appointment and, of course, the last time he throws his shoes and socks off in the middle of the living room floor. Trust me, it pays to have your bases covered when you have the tendency to be an emotional wreak.

If all else fails, I can just take a peek under my mattress…


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15 thoughts on “My Dirty Little Secret”

  1. loved this! my 18 yr old has now completed 1 semester at college & we both survived! he has CF so we’re different than most nesters. his recent hospital stay showed me that i was better emotionally than i thought i was! so although it has taken me close to a yr to come to grips with this adult child of mine being ok, taking care of himself & knowing that he will, my new yr plan is to really move forward with my own life, positively & affecting others the beginning of a new venture….

  2. >Okay I can SO RELATE!!! Yay us! I mean – ah- that's a shame. NOT! I'm going to feature your article on my blog – hope you don't mind 🙂

  3. >You can count me in. I am watching my son finish his he final year of school. He is acutally running a section of his boy scout winter camp.

    And yes I am looking forward to getting nice furniture and painting the walls yellow. And in some ways I am thinking that I could be a travel tech and see the country like you all do but in 13 week impliments.

  4. >Cute! I fall in your category #2. As her name was called to receive her 4 yr. tuition scholarship i was filming her and my hand shook so bad the video is terrible, you can also hear me sobbing like my dog was just run over by a car. I haven't seen my baby since I deserted her at college in August, but I will finally see her Christmas Eve. I can't wait!

  5. >Just a note to tell you I so enjoyed your story. I only had to face it myself twice. I guess that’s the blessing of falling short of our dreams of many more.

    By the way. I had to watch as my daughter boarded a plane bound for Austria when she left for college. My airport tantrum was only witnessed by perfect strangers. LOL

  6. >I swear, as I read your entry here I felt like you and I are living parallel lives!!!

    Today is our baby’s 22nd birthday. All day I’ve found myself wondering where those years went–I think I missed some of it along the way somehow. I even went so far as to dig out the picture album containing his newborn photos long enough to copy one to put in his birthday card next to a current photo—just in case he doesn’t remember as clearly as I do!

    Funny, I went through these same emotions back in February when our oldest son celebrated his 30th birthday. In fact, if I remember right, I did the same thing with the pictures–a newborn photo along with a current one in his birthday card, too.

    It isn’t quite the same with the daughters who are sandwiched in between their brothers. Their birthdays come and go without invoking the strong emotions that the birthdays of the oldest and youngest bring to the surface.

  7. >I just love your attitude. You sound like a hot ticket. My son (baby) just finished his sophomore year in college and came home for the summer for 10 days and got his own apartment near his school which is 2 hours away. At first I was sad but now I am happy for him as I know he didn’t like living in the dorm.

    My husband and I are adjusting to being alone together for the first time in 23 years. It is strange and fun and sad all at the same time. I really like being able to do what I want now though. I have no obligations at home so if I feel like going out after work or going to the beach or anything I just do it. That freedom I haven’t felt since my first was born when I was 24.

  8. >My youngest (girl) went off to college last Fall, but my son is still home attending the local junior college. He will leave this Fall and for the first time in 23 years my wife and I will be here alone. Like you, I will be glad to finally have the house to myself again, and maybe I can go back to doing some of the things I used to do before kids. I never felt it was fair to leave for 5 hours to play golf, so I gave that up in addition to other more risky hobbies like scuba diving and piloting small planes. In a few months, my old body permitting, I will be able to do those things again. I look forward to it.

    But I have to admit that I am afraid as well. My wife and I will have only each other for company; there will be no kids to distract us and occupy our time. Certainly we have changed over the decades and things aren’t really as good as they should be. I wonder what it will be like, if I will be lonely, if we will argue a lot, ….

    Anyone else have this feeling? How did it go?

  9. >You are a gal after my own heart, love your writing! Nearly fell off my chair when I read that you kept a calendar too (lol). I have to confess, mine was on the fridge (but the kids were used to that). I love them all dearly but forward is a really good direction.

  10. >Yes! Yes! Yes! I am not quite there, but I am close! Right now-, our oldest is entering 10th grade and our youngest is entering 8th grade. I am highly aware of how quickly the next few years will go for us–and I am both excited and emotional about it! I am in “supermom the photographer and videographer” mode right now trying to document every last moment of their lives under our roof. I SO get the “last times” issue–I am trying to document as many of them as I can! 🙂 Even though I am getting all weepy about all of these “last times,” I also am getting more and more excited about all of the things that I want to do once this stage is over. Sometimes it is very hard to hold back and wait for that last graduation ceremony! I am sure that I will cry when that day arrives, but then I will wipe my tears away and get ready to begin a new and exciting journey of my own. The new graduates aren’t the only ones who are facing a new beginning–we are, too! Isn’t that exciting!! 🙂

  11. >We are the parents of a single child…one son at the ripe old age of 34 at this point. We looked forward to his graduation for months…lol. When the time came for him to walk across the stage and receive his diploma, there was a roar from the crowd…our family consisted of about 25 people who showed up for the auspicious moment. In fact, we were so rowdy that when we arrived at the local Pizza Hut afterward, we were told by the manager (who also had a child graduating) that we were too loud at the graduation ceremony and that we weren’t welcome in the restaurant. Well, I guess you can tell that we lived in a small town if that set someone off…hahaha. I don’t know if she was the only one that had a problem with us…I do know that an older couple asked us to cheer for their grandson because he only had them there to see him graduate. We happily complied.

    A few weeks after our son graduated, my husband and I decided that it was time for some travel. Never mind that we had already traveled many, many miles with our son while he raced in his whitewater slalom events across the country…this was OUR travel time! At the time, we had a lime green volkswagen camper van and we were ready to hit the road in about an instant…our last words to him as we left the house was, “We’ll call you every week and let you know where to send our mail.” If the song “The Way” by Fastball, had been playing on the radio in the 90’s, it would have been our theme song. At the end of several years, we had put half a million miles on that old VW van and had had some great times together. We have some pretty full journals and lots of pictures and memories about those years and we never will have to look back and say “I wish I had” because we already did! So hears to all those parents who “ain’t skeered” to step away from the kids and go out and be adventurous and enjoy their life….

  12. >Oh, I’m with you girl. I adore my two kids, truly. But, I’ve been ready to claim my independence for a while now. When there entered middle school I started saying that once they entered college they’d get a postcard to say where to join me for Thanksgiving because I’d be ‘on the road’. Of course, after a while I realized how callous and uncaring that sounded, like they were a ball and chain around my slender neck. So I stopped saying out loud

    Now, my first born girlie leaves for California in August to attend Occidental. I see the light at the end of the tunnel because her brother is a scant 3 years away from escaping from my nest. Surely, we’re all excited yet oddly resistant, too.

    There’s a reason teenagers are such a huge pain in the ass right before they leave- it makes it easier to let them go.

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