Killing me softly

The birds are leaving the nest.  One by one, it’s happening.

I’m not referring to the House Wren birdies that have decided to nest in the hole in our rotten wood above our front door.  Not those at all.

My first-born who decided to exit my womb 4 weeks early weighing 6′ 11 oz, is now 6’5″ and getting ready to GO TO COLLEGE.  Shit.  I wasn’t ready for this.

It’s a strange and new time in all our lives, including the life of his younger brother.  We are all experiencing “The Change”.  (Luckily, for the rest of them, they aren’t starting to excessively sweat, cry for no reason and bleed randomly.  THAT change is so, so fun!  A new adventure everyday.  More on that later.)

I’m referring to the change in our house.  The change in the number of purchased toilet paper rolls, milk gallons and bottles of Febreze.  It’s about to dwindle.  Also, the loads of laundry will become fewer and farther between and will be one boy’s clothes less-stinky.

There are so many emotions coming to my surface as we plan the future, “we” apply to colleges, anticipate those damn envelopes in the mail, fight about the realistic choices, visit colleges, and argue about…anything.  I’m so grumpy and cry a lot, especially after one glass of wine, and then I mom-bash myself.  Have I taught him to be polite?  Told him to NEVER text and drive?  Say thank you all the time? Wash his hands…after going to the bathroom…especially NUMBER 2?  Gaaaaaad.

I’m starting to realize that this is what’s supposed to happen. It’s the whole reason for having a baby.  Parents, especially the Mama, are supposed to push, kick with a pointy-booted foot, gently nudge or EAT their children (If you’re a Guppy, you have that option), when it’s time to go.

It’s not just about the fun sex you have when you MAKE the baby.  Or the cute accessories and darling onesies you’re gifted when they’re born.  It’s about having heirs, or SPAWN as my best friend likes to call them, to make their place in the world, carry on your genes, traditions and screw-ups. (Your screw-ups with your behavior or your parenting mishaps will build their character as grown-ups.  If not, you can offer to pay for their adult psychotherapy.)

I look at the Moms around me with young kids or even babies and I’m just SHOCKED at how easy it looks.  My gosh, a diarrhea diaper when the pasta on the stove is boiling over?  Piece of cake compared to figuring out what to do…after the fact… when your teenager lights a fire with gunpowder in your backyard to cook bratwursts with his buddies or has keg parties…when WE are out of town. Yup.

Or even hearing,  “You are awful,” or, “I don’t like you,” or better yet, ” I can’t wait to go to college and be OUT OF HERE- you SUCK!”

That one is a direct hit through the sternum. (THAT reminds me of one of my VERY favorite jokes:  What’s the quickest way to a man’s heart?  Through the sternum with a sharp knife.  Love that one.)

But, I’ve started to realize that every single stage of a Mom’s life with her babies is a significantly hard and fabulous time…and in the teenage years, you and A LOT of this stage are SUPPOSED to suck.  And, all of these stages are preparing you for the pain of THE EXIT.

It’s like the whole birth thing, though.  You forget the pain.  You have more babies and have more stitches in your crotch.  You breastfeed and your nipples hurt.  And, you have Mommy graduation to the next stage.

Lots and lots of NEXT stages.  Bleeding cuts, your kid’s discovery that their butthole is the same as their brother’s in a mirror while looking completely upside-down against a mirror in a hotel, your toddler crying when their caterpillar dies (or gets squashed by Mommy’s shoe), your kid’s first tooth falling out (and forgetting that the Tooth Fairy was supposed to visit that night), your kid’s first drive without you in a car after getting their license, the realization that they are REAL, REAL boys with TESTOSTERONE…..enough on that one.

That’s just how it is.

But, like any of these “oh-my-gosh-parenting-is-so-hard-and-these-kids-are-making-me-want-to-stick-a-fork-in-my-eye” stages that we all go through, this one is my hardest.

I’m so sad that my son is going off to college.  The day we leave him in his dorm to fend for himself is going to be a real tear-jerker and may even equal my actual sobbing and pain while watching the movie The Notebook.  Hopefully, by the end of this summer, though,  I will have covered every possible life lesson that I can think of and will have re-crammed it down his throat.

So, when I’m walking down his dorm hall, crying and frantically reviewing in my head EVERYTHING he needs to know from his mama, hopefully I can turn around, he’ll catch my eye and reassure me with a sweet look that he loves me.

He will do so great.

Now, on to the next stage and the next baby bird.


  1. anne-marie says:

    mary, you are so funny and poignant and revealing. so refreshing and real. love your posts!!!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the compliment!!!!!!!!!!!! It took me forever to write it….I kept getting sad…waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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