Friday, August 17, 2007

...and you'll know we have washed the sheets.

Here we go again. Things are piling up in the living room. Things with a message. A pile I hate worse than piles of dust or mail or bills or trash. The Magic Bullet, a George Foreman grill, miniature refrigerator, mattress pad, pillow, reversible comforter, collapsible hamper, desk light, and the sheets. Dorm supplies. I do know we still have time because he'll want the sheets washed to soften them up and will wait until the last minute to do that.
I finally got the courage to suggest we shop for his college stuff but waited until I thought I could speak the words with all the enthusiasm he deserves. It will take a while to forget the image of my 6'5" son knees bent, body doubled over and torso aimed toward the floor of our linen store. Neck crooked so his head and face could test out a new pillow on the only hard surface available, the floor. "You have to test it on a flat surface with your head." You can't just feel it with your hands I guess unless of course its a pillow for your hands. If it's for your head it only makes sense to test it that way! How did I not just know that?
So the pile sits there like it is accessorizing our home. I am trying so hard NOT to get used to it. I am trying so hard to think it represents a mess that should be cleaned up. But the truth is the emptiness we'll see when the pile is gone, will represent the new empty-nest our home is becoming. Isn't it interesting that the word emptiness looks and sounds so much like empty nest! I just hate it. There is nothing else to say. We'll be ok, but will things ever be as good? Youth brings life and laughter to adult worlds. (Dann is always funny and I am often immature, but that's not the same.)
You would think we'd be prepared. This is number three! You'd think we'd be looking forward to all the freedom others have bragged about. Freedom to do what? There isn't much we do that isn't better with the kids along! Someone once told me that once the kids leave you can walk around the house naked if you want to. Are you kidding me? By the time my kids leave home we are both avoiding mirrors for our own mental health let alone parading around the house with "granny fanny" and "love handles".
Freedom from what? Laundry? Yes what I have grumbled about in the past I am cherishing in these remaining weeks. It would have been weird to caress a pair of jeans and lift a unwashed t shirt to my nose last year. Today I am desperate to divide the loads just to drag out the amazing privilege of washing his clothes.
He must start making his bed everyday. This I know. As it stands now, he does not. So each day in the past 18 years, I have walked past his room, seen the bed unmade and thought... "note to self...find a new way to motivate son in daily bed making". Today I walk by and think "he's still at home"- hallelujah! But I know once he's gone I will eventually go in and make it. Then walk by it each day, see it straightened and know that he is not still home. The worst would be if he makes it on the day he leaves. I would walk by each day after looking at the neatness and know that he left, go in and mess it up myself. I would have to live the next years looking at the wrinkled mess doubly miserable.
I will still keep protein powder in the cupboard, lots of cereal boxes and granola bars in the pantry and maybe even steal a few pieces of laundry to display in a pile next to the bed. Coping mechanisms I guess.
The days count down. I know we still have time because the sheets are still in their package, unwashed. But if in the days ahead, walking through the linen store aisles you find me cart full of replacement accessories, doubled over with my tear stained face pressed against a new pillow on the only hard surface available, you will know...we have washed the sheets.