The Day After Our Last Kid Leaves For College

I love my kids. Every single moment I have with them as they grow is a gift. I feel it necessary to begin this post, with the title it has, with that disclaimer. Especially after you read the rest below. Perhaps beginning with a small disclaimer will cut down on the email or comments I may get reminding me to cherish every moment I have of their childhood. Don’t worry, I do. But sometimes, we dream!

Secluded location by the sea.

It may have been the moment, last week, when I was nearing a complete breakdown due to the high volume of ear-piercing screeching, screaming and running through our house, or finding my wife mumbling and rocking back and forth, with a blank stare, alone in a corner, that prompted the idea for this post. I’m not sure.

Whatever it was (loud crashes through the house, someone waking us up every hour during the night, pee everywhere in the bathroom but the toilet bowl, no food in the pantry because our pre-teens have bottomless pits for stomachs, or the endless mountains of dirty laundry), I decided I would write down some of the glorious things my wife and I are going to do the day after our last kid leaves for college:

(In no particular order)

1. Sleep consecutive hours.

We actually were naive enough, eleven years ago, to believe the book we were reading that told us our children would sleep through the night after 3 months old. That is a lie from the bowels of hell folks! My wife and I are at least a decade behind on sleep. And, much like the national deficit, we aren’t catching up anytime soon. We have decided that we are not really looking for a full-nights sleep anymore…. we’d just like to sleep a few consecutive hours!

2. Repaint the bathroom walls around the toilet. 

Why? you ask. Lets just say that since we’ve had boys we’ve spent more time cleaning the floor around the toilet and the walls behind the toilet than the toilet itself. Ready, aim, fire is not a concept that is understood by any of them. Most of the time its, fire, fire, fire even if their pants are still on. Heck, we might as well rip out all of the drywall and start over.

3. Have a full-length conversation with one another. 

Have you ever heard someone speak in fragments through a microphone with a dying battery or over a radio because of bad frequency? That’s what most of my conversations with my wife sound like anymore. Except, the interference comes from pint-sized darlings that have to tell us in that precise moment (an inch from our face) that that they are done with their dinner or (for the gazillionth time) they have to use the potty.

4. Drive somewhere.

We don’t even care where. Just somewhere. Because we’ll be able to. And the biggest reason we will just drive somewhere is that it will be the two of us. That’s it! Nobody else. And the biggest thing we will have to worry about is whether or not we turned all the lights in the house off, walked the dog, and locked the door behind us.

There will no longer be epic journey’s to the center of the earth (or our house) to find coats and shoes. Gone will be the arguing at the front door over which seat everyone’s going to sit in. It will be me (or my wife) in the driver’s seat and the other in the passenger seat. That’s it! Shoot, we might even stop along the road and switch drivers just to do it!

5. Eat our own food from our own plate!

This is a biggie. One of the reasons we are both in pretty good shape is not from a regular exercise program (although we do that). It’s because food on our plates at our dinner table is consumed pretty quickly. And it would be awesome if it were by us. It’s not. Somewhere, in the split second it takes the two of us to glance around the table to make sure everyone has what they need, the food on our plate disappears, never to be seen again! But one of these days, in our wildest dreams, we will be able to eat that elusive food that started off on our plate, only to end up in someone else’s belly!

I love my life. I really do! And I love my children. They are one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Besides, they are giving me tons of writing material every single day of their precious lives.

What are some of your dreams or fantasies the day after your kids move out? Don’t worry, it’s okay to dream and have a little fun. That’s all this post is about. Just don’t get all crazy and lost in your fantasy that you kick them out before they graduate high school or finish kindergarten!

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  • No Matter What Mom

    This made me laugh because I have the same thoughts. Until recently, we had little hope that our youngest would ever be able to leave home, but his recent progress is nothing short of amazing. So there could possibly come a day when I am not parenting in-home kids. The bathroom may someday not smell like pee. I may no longer find food stashes outside of the pantry. We will be able to go out to dinner without utilizing respite. We won’t have to lock interior doors on anything. Mt. Laundry will be but a little hillock. All of the freshly washed dishes will fit into the drainer. I will be able to open the fridge or freezer quickly without anything falling out. The only muddy footprints will be made by the dogs. Oh what glorious thoughts!

    During the first four or five years of having our children and working night and day on just getting some fundamental regulation going so that they could recover from past trauma, it was the knowlege that the outcome is secure in Christ and that Heaven is our ultimate destination that kept me blowing bubbles and swimming along as best I could. Someday, not only will I feel rested, but my children’s brains and bodies will be healed and perfected the way God intended them to be before anything was corrupted. It’s hard to overvalue hope.

    • So glad I could give you a laugh! While you don’t want to rush their growing up, it’s kind of nice to think about the things you won’t have to deal with when they’re out of the house!

    • Kymberly

      it is so awesome that you are not only looking forward to good things for yourself, but for your children. we too are looking forward to the day when they can face the world without having to wade through the nightmare of their young childhood. and thanks everyone for helping me to remember that we are not alone in the struggle (and ours is not the worst struggle)

      • Kymberly, I am glad that you know that you are not alone. We (parents, foster care providers, adoptive parents, etc) are in this together! Thanks for your comment.